Most, if not all people get their cholesterol tested as part as an annual physical and routine blood work. But, what the results don’t show your doctor is how your diet and lifestyle may be taking its toll on your heart.
Many people overlook the role lifestyle plays in cardiovascular health.
Before prescribing medication such as statins to lower cholesterol, we take a close look at all of an individual’s risk factors for heart disease, family history, diet, inflammation, other medical conditions, stress level, and create a plan that focuses on lifestyle changes as a first defense against cardiovascular disease.
And, the results for our patients have been astounding.
When I say astounding, I mean that in just two to three months, most, if not all, of our patients who have followed our program for lifestyle changes have seen a vast improvement in cardiovascular health. This includes a reduction in indicators for inflammation, lowered blood cholesterol levels and in some cases, lower blood glucose levels. Without medication.
What’s the secret? Understanding that the way you live, what you’re eating, how much you’re moving, and even how much sleep you are getting, affects how you live.
Five Steps To Take Now for Better Heart Health
- Understand the role sugar plays in cardiovascular disease. The new S. dietary guidelines stress the importance of reducing sugar in the diet for good reason. The sugar-insulin connection is an important concept to understand. Excessive sugar intake leads to an increase in insulin levels, a main contributor to inflammation in the arterial walls. Too much sugar also leads to weight gain (and visceral fat around the waist area), diabetes and high blood pressure, all risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In fact, a major study published in JAMA Internal Medicine concluded that a higher intake of added sugar is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.
Steps you can take to cut added sugar from your diet include: eliminating sodas, limit processed foods and eat more fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Get more quality sleep. Studies have shown a link between poor sleep, including sleep apnea, and cardiovascular disease. Sleep apnea causes you to wake frequently throughout the sleep cycle, disrupting important periods of deep sleep (REM sleep). Periods of deep sleep give your body the chance to restore itself, which includes lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Get at least six to eight hours of quality sleep per night to help lower your risk for heart disease.
- Reduce stress. Stress also plays a role in heart disease. The chemicals released during periods of high stress contribute to inflammation in the body, which in turn, can lead to the development of arterial plaque. Sleep deprivation increases stress levels as well. At Shakthi, we work with patients on ways to reduce stress through meditation, yoga, massage and lifestyle changes including improving diet and incorporating exercise for a healthier way of living.
- Eat More Vegetables and Fruits. A plant-based diet has many benefits to heart health. In fact, some research suggests that plant-based diets not only help prevent diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and stroke, but that they may also help in the reversal of arterial plaque formation.
- A sedentary lifestyle is a leading contributor to cardiovascular disease. We work with many patients on lifestyle changes including making exercise a part of their daily life. Go for daily brisk walks, take up yoga, swim, bike, do something you love that gets you moving and increases your heart rate to keep your heart strong and healthy.
Making changes to the way you live can have a powerful and positive impact on your heart health.
We have helped many patients lower their risk factors for heart disease through lifestyle changes alone. Find out how we can help you. Call Shakthi Health and Wellness today at 301-703-5067.