Healthy ways to support a healthy heart
Your cardiovascular system (otherwise known as your circulatory system), made up of your heart and blood vessels is a key player in keeping you fit and healthy in your day-to-day life. The function of your heart is to transport key nutrients and oxygen to every cell in your body as well as removing metabolic wastes such as carbon dioxide from the body.
Common conditions that may affect the health of your cardiovascular system are usually due to blockages or slowdowns in the blood vessels of the system. In Australia, it is estimated 1 in every 20 adults are affected by cardiovascular conditions (Heart Research Institute, 2022).
Supporting a healthy heart and blood vessels is crucial for your body to receive nutrients and oxygen and to support overall health and wellbeing.
Indications of heart problems
Most of the time, a severe event involving your heart will indicate a heart problem however, other indications of heart issues may include:
- Chest discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Left shoulder pain
- Lightheaded & dizzy
- Irregular heartbeat
- Swollen feat
If you experience any of the above, it’s important to seek advice from your healthcare professional.
Contributors to heart health
There are various contributors and risk factors to heart health including:
Dietary factors: a diet high in saturated fats, salt and cholesterol may lead to poorer heart health. High levels of LDL-cholesterol (i.e., the bad cholesterol) are a major contributor to heart problems as they lead to fatty deposits in the arteries making it difficult for blood to flow through your arteries.
Stress: ongoing constant stress may contribute to poor artery health.
Obesity: excess weight is known to worsen heart problems
Smoking: smoking and the substances in tobacco can damage the health of your arteries
Genetics & family history: a family history of heart disease can increase your risk of heart problems.
Diet and lifestyle tips to support a healthy heart
- Consider following a Mediterranean style diet. This diet originates from Southern Italy and Greece and features a high consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrain and olive oils. Additionally, the diet features moderate consumption of animal proteins and a low consumption of red meat and processed foods.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
- Avoid the consumption of sugary sweet drinks. These contain high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener which has been shown to contribute to obesity.
- Avoid a diet high in saturated fats and focus on including healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil to support healthy cholesterol levels
- Keep an eye on your sodium (salt) intake from foods
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day to maintain a healthy weight and support healthy circulation and blood vessels. A sedentary lifestyle may contribute to high cholesterol accumulation causing poor heart health.
- Quit smoking as smoking negatively impacts the health of your arteries.
- Control blood pressure levels by consulting your doctor to ensure routine blood pressure check-ups are undertaken
- Reduce and manage stress by adopting stress reduction techniques such as meditation, journaling, or yoga
- Aim for 8 hours of good quality sleep every night
Thompsons herbal favourites to support a healthy heart
There is no doubt diet and lifestyle are key players for a healthy heart but, there are also certain herbs and vitamins that can support the health of your heart.
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) flowers and leaves are traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to support healthy heart function and strengthen the heart. The active component of Hawthorn, Vitexin-2-rhamnoside helps to support overall cardiovascular system health and is used in traditional Western herbal medicine to support healthy blood circulation.
Grape seed (Vitis vinifera) is a great source of antioxidants that helps to support healthy blood circulation. It also works to support blood capillary and blood vessel health.
CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10) although not a herb is still considered one of our favourites at Thompsons. It provides a high source of antioxidants to support cardiovascular system health as well as supporting the health of your blood vessels.
Looking to support your heart health? Explore our Cardiovascular System range mastered with herbs and nutrients to support a healthy circulation and heart.