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Holistic Heart Health: Nutrition, Herbs and Yoga

By Jess Lewis-Peltier ecomii.com
January 28, 2011
File under: Herbs, Natural Remedies

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It’s there, beating all the time…completely synchronized with every breath we take. It beats with each electrical impulse and does an enormous amount of work. Yet, even the most health-minded individual rarely, if ever thinks about the heart, an organ that serves the most important function in the body. Without it, nothing else works.

This is true in both the physical and energetic aspect. Physiologically, heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the U.S., and a major cause of disability.  From an energetic standpoint, heartbreak is the leading cause of grief, which in turn affects our ability to heal our emotional state.

Eat right, take Omega 3‘s and exercise and you’re off to a very good start. However, I challenge you to take a closer look at your heart health on all levels. We can usually exercise, medicate or supplement our way out of pain, disease, inflammation and most other ailments; but taking the time to be conscious of the role the heart plays in our lives is where the work begins.

Whether you’re a seasoned health-nut or a newbie, there are steps that you can take to drastically improve your heart health using the three-pronged approach of nutrition, herbs and yoga.

Nutrition:
The very first things you should do? Improve your diet and add necessary supplements. Think light! Stay away from foods that are too heavy and weigh you down, such as fried foods. If you’re a meat-eater, try leaning more toward vegetarian meals. Include more flax and avocados in your diet for heart healthy fats.

Minerals:
Mineral deficiencies are one of the leading causes of disease. Because of the depletion in readily available minerals due to processed foods and modern agricultural methods, supplements should be a critical part in savvy heart health. Three of the most important minerals are magnesium, folic acid and calcium.

Magnesium deficiency is a leading cause of heart and muscle-related deterioration and is becoming more common, so be sure to get an adequate dose to maintain heart suppleness. Folic Acid is critical to maintaining homocysteine levels, as an increased level of this amino acid is damaging to blood vessels. Calcium is important in regulating blood pressure but supplementing with calcium isn’t quite enough. For the body to properly assimilate calcium, Vitamin D is required. So go get some sun!

Yoga:
Stress plays a huge role in heart disease. Stress is the number one cause of adrenal syndrome and if not addressed, can manifest in the form of inflammation causing premature aging, fatigue, depression and high blood pressure. Yoga and meditation greatly reduce stress in the body, allowing for a more focused, relaxed mind and body.

Yoga also works on the various chakras, or energy centers, of the body. With physical and emotional stressors, the heart chakra can become blocked. By practicing yoga we open up the heart center allowing love and forgiveness to flow. This in turn, allows the blood to flow more freely to and from the heart.

Hawthorn:
Hawthorn is an herb that acts as a cardiac tonic creating increased blood flow to the heart. Though very gentle, it’s an official drug for cardiovascular disease in many countries around the world. Hawthorn teas or tinctures are a great way to include this heart-healthy herb into your daily regimen.

Garlic:
Garlic is another gentle yet potent herb for the heart. High fat diets build artery-clogging plaque that garlic can simply melt away. Though the biochemistry is a bit more complicated than that, garlic is an easy and inexpensive addition to any diet.

Jess Lewis-Peltier, ‘The Holistic Yogini‘ is a naturopath, biochemist, herbalist and yoga teacher living in southern California Facebook Jess and follow her on Twitter.

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