Dr. G’s Tips for a Healthy Heart
Tips for a Healthy Heart Straight From the Doctor
Heart disease is the leading cause of death. 17.3 Million people die of heart disease worldwide each year. Heart disease increasingly common, but did you know that 75% of heart disease can be prevented? I spoke with Dr. Jess Goodman, founder of iheart, to discuss his top tips for a healthy heart.
Get out of Your Seat and Start Moving
A sedentary lifestyle will increase your risk of heart disease. Getting out of your chair and taking a one-minute stroll around the office has profound health benefits, ranging from pumping of blood from the legs back to the heart promoting flexibility of the spine. A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of heart disease. Getting out of your chair and taking a one-minute stroll around the office has profound health benefits, ranging from pumping of blood from the legs back to the heart to promoting flexibility of the spine. Going for a stroll around the block over the lunch hour will enhance overall blood circulation and circulation of cerebrospinal fluid that cleanses the brain, increasing energy, concentration and memory. In medical school Dr. Goodman learned, ‘Stagnant waters soon grow foul’. When the body is sedentary and not moving, internal organ function declines, allowing illness to take root.
Exercise is The Most Effective Method to Prevent Heart Disease
“Most forms of exercise will improve heart health” Dr. Goodman notes, but most effective are exercises that lower Aortic Stiffness and improve Core Mobility. The Aorta is the body’s largest blood vessel, running immediately in front of the spine. Aortic Stiffness is a surrogate measure of stiffness of the spinal column that in turn affects stiffness of the body’s core regions. Core Mobility is a term coined by Dr. Goodman that describes mobility of the body along the spinal axis. Core Mobility includes mobility of the chest, abdominal, pelvic and cranial/spinal cavities and their internal organ contents. Good Core Mobility allows the Diaphragm Muscle to contract effectively with each breath, massaging the Internal Organs and improving heart function. AS the Diaphragm drops, pressure within the chest cavity decreases, promoting flow of blood from the entire body back to the heart. With each breath the liver, spleen, kidneys and other organs experience rhythmic compression and release forces that promote internal organ circulation, organ function, health and longevity. Aortic Stiffness, not surprisingly, has been proven to predict risk of death from all causes.
So what kind of exercises improve Core Mobility and heart health?
Dr. Goodman says to focus on exercises that stretch through the spine, chest and abdomen and incorporate movements that are fluid. Walking is the simplest form of exercise but involves all parts of the body and with each step there is a stretch of the body from top to bottom. Yoga and Tai Chi are ancient techniques to stretch along the spinal axis and slowly reverse aging related changes affecting all tissues. “Stretching through the core of the body is more important to organ health than you may think, our organs have very important jobs to do and Core Mobility optimizes organ micro-circulation, promoting wellness. Stretching along the spinal axis to maintain Core Mobility is critically important for health and long life,” says Dr. Goodman.
Incorporate Heart Healthy Foods into Your Diet
Diet plays a large role in heart health, eating heart healthy isn’t as hard as you may think. Try adding heart healthy foods into your diet today. Some heart healthy foods include:
- Foods rich in omega 3’s - think Salmon, chia seeds, free range eggs (There are many scientific articles showing how an Omega-3 rich diet lowers Aortic Stiffness)
- Whole grains - full of antioxidants to improve heart health
- Beans - high in soluble fiber to reduce cholesterol and improve heart health
- Nuts - high in vitamins and minerals to improve not just heart health, but overall health in general! Eat unsalted varieties of almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, peanuts, macadamia nuts and brazil nuts.
Stress can have very detrimental effects on the body. The body deals with stressors on a daily basis, but long term stress, be it physical or emotional, will take its toll on the body. “Chronic stress increases blood pressure, increases Aortic Pulse Wave Velocity, and creates a harmful environment in the body”, says Dr. Goodman. Taking steps to reduce stress in your life can be quite easy and enjoyable. Try some of the following:
- Breathing exercises
- Walking in natural settings
- Spend time with friends
- Use counselors or other health professionals to understand how you can become happier with yourself and find ways to enjoy every day
Or try these 10 Relaxation Techniques that Zap Stress Fast from WebMD
Use a Tool to Monitor Your Heart Health
Using a tool like iHeart to monitor your heart health on a regular basis. iHeart determines your Internal Age by measuring Aortic Pulse Wave Velocity, a measure of Aortic Stiffness and a proven indicator of heart and brain health. Using a device to monitor how your lifestyle choices are affecting your internal health will provide valuable insight as to what is working for your body, and what isn’t.