with herbalist Susun Weed
As I age, I’m becoming concerned about the health of my heart. What can you recommend to keep it fit and toned, in terms of exercise and nutrition?
Here are ten easy steps to better heart health:
1. Stop smoking. Nourish yourself with a handful of sunflower seeds and a cup of nettle or oatstraw infusion daily for 4 to 6 weeks before quitting. Sunflower seeds reduce the body’s craving for nicotine by filling the nicotine receptor sites. The infusions strengthen blood vessels and nerves and cushions the impact of withdrawal.
2. Touch and be touched. Many scientific studies have shown that people who were touched lovingly every day had significantly fewer heart problems than the control group.
3. Eat seaweeds. They have been shown to stabilize blood pressure, regulate levels of triglycerides, phospholipids and cholesterols, they dissolve fatty build-ups in the blood vessels, they can restore cardiac efficiency and prolong the life of the heart muscle, and they encourage a steady heartbeat.
4. Eat foods rich in beta-carotenes: it can cut your risk of a stroke by 40 percent. Foods rich in beta-carotenes are orange, green, yellow and red. They include carrots, cabbage, winter squash, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, apricots, and seaweed.
5. Eat garlic. Study after study has confirmed garlic’s abilities to lower blood pressure, reduce phospholipids and cholesterol, strengthen heart action, increase immune response, reduce platelet clumping and clotting (thus reducing strokes) and stabilize blood sugar levels. Eat garlic raw or lightly cooked, several cloves a day.
6. Eat foods rich in essential fatty acids. Fresh pressed oils of wheat germ or flax seed are especially nourishing.
7. Drink lemon balm tea. It is so strengthening to the heart that there’s an old saying about it: “Those who drink lemon balm tea daily will live forever!” You can also steep a handful of fresh leaves in a glass of white wine for an hour or so and drink it with dinner. Or make lemon balm vinegar to use on your salads.
8. Move! Go for a walk, jump rope, swim, or do leg lifts and arm raises from your bed or wheelchair: however you can do it, do it! Regular exercise is key.
9. Avoid restrictive diets. Frequent dieting, fasting, binging and purging imbalance your electrolyte levels, causing weakening of the heart muscle and damage to the heart.
10. Eat as much as you want of: whole grains, vegetables, beans, greens, fruits, fish, seeds, and yogurt. Go easy on: nuts, cheese, and milk.
Excerpted from New Menopausal Years, the Wise Woman Way: Alternative Approaches for Women 30-90. See book for more heart healthy tips!
photos: Wise Woman Spiral ©iStockphoto.com / Chuck Spidell | Bellydancer © Ronny Vardy