The Heart of The Matter
Jan 28, 2013 Posted by: Dr. Sara Henderson ND
As a woman under 30, I’m stunned by the reality that, contrary to popular belief, cardiovascular disease kills more women (30% of all deaths) than men (28% of all deaths).
Cardiovascular disease is a complex of conditions associated with injury to or illness of the heart and blood vessels throughout the body and within the brain. A small portion of heart ailments may be caused by genetics or a pre-existing health condition. But read the list of risk factors associated with heart disease —inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes — and you quickly understand that this condition is largely preventable.
“I’m stunned by the reality that, contrary to popular belief, cardiovascular disease kills more women (30% of all deaths) than men (28% of all deaths).”
Herein lies my professional challenge. I believe in the natural health and healing powers of the human body. My practice reflects my enthusiasm — zeal even — about our individual ability to be well, to manage our health and to lead vital, vigorous lives. I also understand that in a busy world, super-keener healthy habits are sometimes easier said than done.
But if I have one message to share in February, it is that cardiovascular disease is largely preventable if you choose a heart-healthy lifestyle. In fact, take charge of your health now and by age 50, your risk of developing heart disease drops by 92%.
Use It or Lose It
Exercise is a beautiful thing. Physical activity in your daily life helps reduce stress, boost mood, increase energy, improve sleep and optimize digestion. A study of 73,000 post-menopausal women found that brisk walking and intense exercise substantially reduces the incidence of heart disease compared to the increased risk associated with prolonged sitting. Starting may be hard, but the rewards will keep you hooked.
For optimal heart health, the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend adults get 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. I tell my patients: “Get your heart rate up and sweat for 20 minutes every day!” If your budget or schedule won’t allow you to join a gym, go low-tech by walking to work, walking your dog or riding a stationary bike at home.
Eat Right, Live Right
Healthy eating can change your life. Your diet should prominently feature fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fibre, lean protein
and healthy fats found in fish oil, olive oil, avocados and nuts. Saturated fat, refined sugar, salt, alcohol and processed foods are the items you want to limit. These foods won’t boost your vitality or improve your overall wellness. Many offer empty calories that won’t nourish your body or improve your cardio health.
New research shows that healthy eating can literally extend your life. A groundbreaking study published recently in Hypertension found that women who ate little to no fish had 50% more heart problems than those women who regularly included fish in their diets. Fish is rich in polyunsaturated Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which influence several molecular pathways in the body and have a significant impact on your health.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids lower triglycerides, heart rate and blood pressure. This essential nutrient also improves heart function and efficiency. Fish oil also supports the health of blood vessels and reduces blood viscosity, thereby lowering the risk of platelets clotting and sticking to artery walls. As an added bonus, Omega-3 oils decrease inflammation (associated with arthritis and eczema) and improve the texture of your skin and appearance of your complexion.
“Omega-3 essential fatty acids lower triglycerides, heart rate and blood pressure. This essential nutrient also improves heart function and efficiency.”
Diet or Supplements?
I always recommend diet first for nutrition. That said, it’s difficult to achieve a therapeutic dose of Omega-3 from food alone, especially when fish contain a toxic cocktail of environmental contaminants, such as heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs and organochlorines.
Flax is an option for Omega-3, but it is less effective. Studies consistently show that animal-based Omega-3 sources, such as fish, are better used by the human body. So my recommendation is to limit dietary fish to one or two servings per week and to supplement your Omega-3 intake with a pure and potent fish-oil supplement.
Jamieson’s family of omega supplements are made using EFA-rich fish oil from small, plankton-feeding species — sardines and anchovies — that are captured by Peru’s world-leading sustainable fishery. These smaller species are naturally lower in contaminants compared to larger carnivorous species, such as salmon and halibut. Before Jamieson encapsulates these oils, they undergo a patented “stripping” procedure to remove the impurities that contaminate our oceans.
Whether you choose a liquid or softgel formula, Jamieson gives you the best of Omega-3 nutrition. It’s the ultimate, simple act of prevention that will reward you with good health for years to come.