February is American Heart Month and the perfect time to take an active approach to better heart health. Even if you have a family history, heart disease and attacks are preventable. Lower your risk by incorporating these suggestions into your healthy lifestyle.
Eat Your Heart Out — the Healthy Way
Saturated and Trans Fats
While foods with more than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving do your heart more harm than good, a study published in Circulation found that women who ate three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week reduced their heart attack risk by as much as one-third!
- – Avoid packaged snack foods with more than 1 gram of trans fat per 100 calories.
- – Mix delicious berries in with cereal at breakfast, salad at lunch, or frozen yogurt after dinner.
- – Challenge yourself to add fruits and veggies to 2 meals and 1 snack daily.
Red Meat Soy and Salmon
Red meat is particularly high in saturated fat, yet soy foods have far less of it than common meat protein sources. Soy foods have been shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) blood cholesterol levels.
- – Add soymilk to a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal — it tastes great!
- – Look for natural sources of soy in edamame and organic silken tofu, or add Reliv Now® with LunaRich® and LunaRich X™ to your daily regimen.
- – Work on cutting portion sizes of steaks or substituting chicken or fish. Salmon is a great option because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids (see Dr. Carl’s letter below).
Find mouth-watering recipes from Health Magazine’s “10 Best Foods for Your Heart” here.
Work Your Heart Out
Engaging in physical activity can help you feel better and make your heart stronger. Exercise alone can reduce your risk of heart attacks by 35-50%! The American Heart Association recommends exercising for at least 30 minutes most days.
- – Aerobic exercises like running and dancing, even gardening or housekeeping, can get your heart pumping, juices flowing, and spirits up.
- – Aim to boost your physical activity by 10 minutes a day, even if it means walking around during commercials or phone calls.
Give Your Heart a Break
Sleep deprivation and stress are awful for your heart’s health — most adults need 7-8 hours a night to function and feel their best. Every extra hour of sleep added to your nightly average reduces coronary artery calcification, a heart disease risk factor, by up to 33%, according to a Journal of the American Medical Association study.
- – Lengthen your sleep by closing your eyes at least half an hour earlier than you usually would. That extra episode on Netflix will still be up tomorrow and hey, maybe you’ll enjoy it more if you’re well-rested.
- – Reduce stress by practicing yoga, tai chi, or meditating and focusing on relaxation for a few minutes each day.
A Note from Dr. Carl: Show Your Heart a Little Love
Your heart is responsible for countless vital processes, and its health is closely intertwined with that of your body and brain.
In honor of American Heart Month, I urge you to show your heart a little love: eat healthy, exercise, relax and incorporate Reliv’s LunaRich products into your heart-healthy regimen.
Lunasin: Soy’s Not-So-Secret Ingredient
Lunasin is the peptide behind many of soy’s remarkable cholesterol-lowering health benefits, and Reliv’s LunaRich soy powder products and LunaRich X are the first products to fully harness its nutritive power.
Cholesterol comes from two sources: dietary intake and our body’s own production in the liver. Over 80% of cholesterol comes from the liver, so the most effective way to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol is to control the liver’s internal production. Lunasin works to lower cholesterol in two ways:
1. disrupts the production of cholesterol in the liver
2. improves the liver’s ability to clear LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream
Omega-3s: Good-for-You Fat
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, nuts and other healthy foods, protect the heart by decreasing arrhythmias, blood clot formation, blood pressure, inflammation, and can even improve the function of artery cells. Omega 3s are necessary for heart and overall health, but your body can’t make them. That’s why supplementing is key. Reliv products containing omega 3s include 24K™, GlucAffect®, ReversAge® and Reliv Now® for Kids.
CardioSentials®: A Nutritional Approach to Total Heart Health
This revolutionary formula has been clinically shown to moderate cholesterol and blood glucose levels. OptiBerry, an assortment of powerful antioxidants, relaxes arterial walls to keep blood flowing, CoQ10 works to energize your heart and phytosterols moderate cholesterol levels. CardioSentials provides nutritional support that your heart’s sure to love, especially when taken with LunaRich X.
To Your Health,
Dr. Carl W. Hastings
Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer