The Challenge of a Healthy Heart

The heart is the monarch of all organs. It pumps blood every moment of our lives, nourishing our living tissue with nutrients and oxygen. Pumping is caused by a flow of electricity through the heart that cyclically repeats itself. Nurturing the heart nurtures the body as a whole. This is a challenge in today’s society as heart disease is one of the leading causes of illness. A healthy heart is determined by both uncontrollable and controllable factors. Uncontrollable factors are hereditary. Controllable factors include diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices. The two factors are interrelated, since modifying controllable factors can help maintain uncontrollable factors, such as a genetic predisposition to heart disease.

The heart is the primary organ of our cardiovascular system which includes a vast network of arteries and veins that work together delivering oxygen-rich blood to the body and oxygen-poor blood to the lungs. In order to keep the heart healthy, we need to keep this vast network of arteries and veins healthy.

The food we consume determines how our genes are expressed. Eating healthy foods sets the causes and conditions for our genes to express themselves through an optimum physiology. Living according to our most fundamental nature is the foundation of radiant health. The following is recommended:

Avoid – high fat, high cholesterol foods, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, chocolate, sugar, butter, red meat, fried foods, soft drinks, spicy foods, white flour

Eat – fiber, brown rice, pearl barley, raw foods, fish, turkey, chicken, garlic, onions, sea cucumber, lotus root, seaweed, shitake mushrooms, black fungus, Chinese black dates, hawthorn berries, cassia seeds, chrysanthemum, vinegar, water, olive oil chestnuts, mung beans, raw nuts

A consistent program of 45-60 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week strengthens the heart by lowering blood pressure, reducing body fat, lowering the risk of diabetes, and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. People who are sedentary in their daily lives are more likely to have heart disease compared with people who are active. Obesity is a major factor in heart disease.

Finally, a healthy mindset that is not attached to stressful, anxious, negative, angry or hostile thought patterns reduces the causes and conditions for disease. Let’s stay positive, be true to ourselves and take good care of our hearts.

heartEdsel Tan, L.Ac.