MY PLATE~OUR DIET GUIDELINE AND FOUNDATION FOR HEALTH By: Allie Might, FMC, INHC, ATT March is National Nutrition Month so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to go back to basics. We all remember when we were growing up and learning about …
Heart Health: The Complete Summary
Dr. Claire Arcidiacono, ND
I hope this series on heart health has been both informative and interesting! While I took the time in this series to review some rather severe heart conditions I also wanted to do a quick summary on what steps you can take before these concerns develop or to help slow down their progression once you are diagnosed with them. Let’s start at the beginning shall we? Many of the risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure, high cholesterol have few if any symptoms. That is why I always recommend going to your doctor and getting routine blood work as a first step to staying healthy. The next step in getting our heart healthy is to do a life style review. Do you smoke? Drink alcohol to excess? Have a standard American diet? Do you have poor sleep habits? Be honest when you write down the risk factors you may have. Remember we can only help you if you are completely honest with us. As we always say there’s no judgement here! The next step is to talk to family members and find out what may or may not run in your family. Lastly before you visit or call an Invite nutritionist it is a great idea to make a list of any and all supplements as well as medications that you are taking. Once you haves all this information an Invite nutritionist can help get you on a protocol made just for you. For now I’ll just review a few of my personal favorite tips to help heart health.
- Life style changes! Working on our life style is never easy but it is one of the most important ways to positively affect both our heart health as well as our overall health. One of the best ways to help our heart is to stop smoking. It is also important to decrease alcohol intake. Reducing stress and increasing the amount/ quality of sleep you are getting can also help our heart. (1) L-Theanine has been found in studies to help with both stress and anxiety! When used at night it can also help to improve sleep. (2) Magnesium has also been found in studies to help with both cortisol (stress related hormone) and sleep. (3) Now I know what you are thinking – can I use both these things at the same time? Yes you can! The next life style change that can help our heart is maintaining a healthy weight. (1) For some amazing tips on this topic please check out Allie Might’s blog Weight loss tips and tricks.
- Studies have found that a Mediterranean diet is very good for our heart health. In fact the more closely the diet is followed the better the outcome that was experienced. (4) During this series I wrote about Invite Reds and Greens Hx. If you look at my blogs on these 2 items you can easily see how these powders are full of heart health nutrients! In addition to Reds Hx and Greens Hx, we can’t forget my personal favorite, Beets Hx! These powders are chock full of fruits and vegetables which is a large part of the Mediterranean diet that has been studies for so many different health concerns.(5)
- Resveratrol is one of my number 1 supplement recommendations for heart health. I know when most people think of Resveratrol they think of it for anti-aging. However Resveratrol has been studied and found to have numerous benefits when it comes to heart health. For example Resveratrol has been found to help with the symptoms of heart failure. Resveratrol has also been found to help with coronary artery disease and even atherosclerosis! According to studies Resveratrol can even help with our cholesterol and our blood pressure. (6)
- CoQ10 is another amazing nutrient when it comes to our heart. Studies have found numerous benefits for CoQ10 for heart health. These benefits include helping with blood pressure, signs of heart failure, enlarged heart and it can even help with ischemic heart disease or poor circulation to the heart. (7)
- Omega 3s are one of the first things I recommend for helping with our cholesterol. According to the Mayo Clinic there is strong evidence that Omega 3s can help with lowering triglycerides and even help raise our HDL! There is also strong evidence that Omega 3s can help with our blood pressure. (8)
- The next item I want to mention is Ribose Complex. Since I already did a product highlight on this amazing supplement I will simply direct you to my blog that highlights all the ways that Ribose complex is a heart healthy supplement.
- Lastly I want to point out how important it is to monitor your blood work. If you notice any consistent changes such as a slow but consistent increase in cholesterol it is important to start making changes before it becomes “high”. As I always say prevention is best!
I will be moving on from this topic, but I want to remind everyone that Invite nutritionists are always available to help answer any questions you may have.
FEBRUARY~LOVE AND HEARTS…THE RECIPES By: Allie Might, FMC, INHC, ATT February is an interesting month. Not only is it Valentine’s Day which is always full of love but it’s also heart health awareness month….quite fitting if you ask me. Let’s spend this month together …
Greens Hx….for our heart?
Dr. Claire Arcidiacono, ND
Greens Hx is probably one of the most popular products at Invite! Everyone knows how amazing Greens Hx is for our liver, immune system, detox and even energy! What most people may not know is that Greens Hx is full of heart healthy nutrients. And when I say full I don’t mean just 1 or 2 of the ingredients. There are literally 12 different components of Greens Hx that are good for our heart health. So let’s take a look at these ingredients!
Let’s start with ginger. Studies have found that ginger has several benefits to our heart health. Ginger has been found to help with lowering high blood pressure, high cholesterol and it can even help to lower the risk of blood clots. (1) Ginger has also been found to have triglyceride lowering benefits. (2) Additionally studies have found that ginger can help to increase our HDL levels. (3) Overall Ginger is an amazing supplement for our heart!
Moving on from ginger let’s talking about grape seed. The first benefit of grape seed is its effects on blood pressure. Studies have found that grape seed can “significantly modulate blood pressure after grape seed extract is used for 16 weeks”. (4) This is important considering that high blood pressure is a risk factor for so many heart complications. In fact 1 study found that grape seed extract lowered systolic blood pressure by 5.6% and diastolic by 4.7% after only 6 weeks of use. (5) Studies have also found that grape seed can help to improve circulation. In one study after 8 weeks grape seed was found to help with blood thinning thus potentially decrease risk of blood clots. (6) Studies have also found that grape seed extract can help lower leg swelling and edema that occurs after sitting for 6 hours. (7) This is important for those with poor circulation where the pain is often worse with sitting or standing. Studies have also found that grape seed extract may be helpful with lowering the risk of atherosclerosis. (8) As you can see grape seed extract is a powerful nutrient when it comes to heart health.
The next item in Greens Hx is Flax seed. According to the Mayo Clinic studies have found that using flaxseed daily can help to lower the total cholesterol. Additionally according to the Mayo Clinic other studies have found that flax seed can help lower blood pressure. (9) Studies have found that ALA, a component of flax seed is associated with a decreased risk of recurrent heart attacks. Atherosclerosis was found to be significantly reduced by using flax seed. As I stated previously studies have found that high cholesterol is also passively affected by flax seed. (10) Flax seed has also been found to help reduce the incidence of arrhythmias. Lastly flaxseed is considered to be an alternative plant source of omega 3s. (11)
Our next item is one of my favorites! BEETS! In fact beets is such an amazing supplement for heart health that I wrote an entire blog on just Beets Hx! Now because I did a very complete blog on using beets for heart health I will just do a quick summary here. A number of studies have found that beets, a natural nitric oxide booster are helpful for reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Beetroot has also been found to help with what is known as reperfusion injury. There has also been found to be decreased arterial stiffness after using beetroot. Beetroot has also been found to help relax smooth muscles just like the ones in the blood vessels. Remember the more relaxed the muscles the larger the opening in the vessel and thus the lower the pressure! (12) The Cleveland Clinic has found numerous benefits for beets. In fact the Cleveland Clinic has found that beets can help increase heart performance after exercise. They have also found that beets help with our blood pressure. (13) But as I said I have a whole exciting blog on just beets. So for more details on beets check out my blog!
Turmeric, or curcumin is one item that might surprise you. Curcumin has been found to help with vascular dysfunction. Curcumin has also been found to improve vasodilation (or how big the opening in the blood vessels is). Curcumin can also help with arterial stiffness which as we know in the long run can help with blood pressure. Lastly studies have found that turmeric can help as a treatment for age related cardiovascular disease. (14)
There are quite a few more items in Greens Hx that can help our heart. So this blog will be split into 2 parts. This way every component can have an in-depth description of how it helps the heart. In our next blog Greens Hx part 2 we will review the following ingredients in Greens Hx: Citrus bioflavonoids, Blueberry, Parsley, Alfalfa, Bilberry, Rosemary and Stevia!