Five Easy Ways to Lower Pulse Wave Velocity (the most important health metric you’ve never heard of)
The most important health metric you've never heard of...
There's a new health metric that is kicking up steam called Pulse Wave Velocity, or PWV. Pulse Wave Velocity is a measure of Aortic Stiffness, the rate at which pressure waves move down the blood vessel. Pulse Wave Velocity has been proven in a wealth of scientific literature to be a marker of heart health, brain health, and risk of death from all causes, so why haven't you heard of it before?? You may not have heard about Pulse Wave Velocity because up until recently the only way you could have a PWV test was by visiting a specialist or trained professional using a very expensive (over $25,000) medical device. PWV is a great way to know the state of your internal health, and see changes when incorporating positive lifestyle choices.
Recently a couple of companies have released tools that measure Pulse Wave Velocity in the comfort of your own home. There's iHeart by VitalSines, which measures PWV through the pulse in the finger and determines a user's Pulse Wave Velocity score and Internal Age in 30-seconds, and Body Cardio, a scale by Withings that measures Pulse Wave Velocity through the feet.
So what can you do to lower PWV to live longer and healthier? Try some of the list below and measure with your PWV tool often to see if you're on the right track to optimal health and wellness.
Go for a walk
A study at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, states that walking is as good as running for reducing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and diabetes; three key players in the development of heart disease. It's a matter of how far you walk or run, not how long. The American Heart Association recommends walking for up to 30 minutes per day, or at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week to lower heart disease risks.
Eat foods high in Omega 3 fatty acidsEating foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to lower Pulse Wave Velocity. Try adding some of the following foods into your diet:
- Wild salmon
- Flax seed oil
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Egg yolks (free range organic)
Supplement with Vitamin DVitamin D has been proven to lower PWV in a number of studies. Vitamin D can be manufactured in the body, but sunscreen, which should be used to protect the skin, reduces the absorption of Vitamin D from 90-99%. To improve Vitamin D levels in your body try consuming the following foods:
- Eat wild salmon
- Free range organic eggs
- Canned wild tuna
- Fortified cereal
- Fortified yogurt
Studies have proven that acute mental stress has a negative effect on arterial stiffness and PWV. Stress can also effect the body in many other negative ways such as digestive issues, high blood pressure, erectile disfunction, lowered immune function, sleeping issues and mood disorders, to name a few. To lower stress levels try some of the following activities and techniques:
- Yoga - find a yoga studio in your area or try an online yoga video like this 20 minute 'Yoga at Home for Beginners'
- Meditate - Meditating can be hard at first but the rewards are great. Start out with an introductory meditation video like this guided meditation for beginners
- Reduce sugar intake - spikes in blood sugar throughout the day put stress on the body and the mind
- Breathe deeply - simply taking a few minutes out and practicing breathing can lower stress levels. Try these six breathing exercises to reduce stress in 10 minutes
- Slow down - We're always rushing around trying to get multiple things done at once. Try slowing down and taking your time to complete tasks
Decrease Coffee Consumption
A study has proven that chronic coffee consumption has a negative effect on arterial stiffness and Pulse Wave Velocity. Try to lower your coffee consumption to one cup a day or try to swap the coffee for tea. Coffee is a stressor on the body and you may see some improvements in mood, energy levels, and stress levels once you've lowered your consumption levels or removed coffee from the diet. Try kicking your habit with these 4 coffee substitutions.