By Jobee Knight
A revealing discovery was made In the middle of the 17th century. An Englishman named Harvey discovered that the job of the heart is to pump the blood throughout the body, almost in a continuous circle – carrying food and other substances to all the cells, muscles, bones and skin. Indeed, the heart is an intricate and capable machine, composed almost entirely of muscle.
There are some unique heart-loving foods and supplements that have proven themselves winners for increasing the health of the heart and blood vessels. These include fish, fish oil capsules, garlic, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Co-enzyme Q10. Eating fish and/or taking fish oil supplements is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is a special type of fat that he body cannot make by itself and is vital to the health.
In the Netherlands, eating a mere one ounce of fish daily was associated with 50% fewer deaths from coronary heart disease — in other words, it cut the risk in half. In another study done in the UK, fish oil greatly improved the function of small arteries in patients with excess cholesterol in their blood.
Garlic is a favorite plant for lowering cholesterol. It also inhibits blood clotting and reduces blood pressure (from Preventive Medicine). The best way to benefit from garlic is to eat it raw or cooked on a frequent basis. It is also beneficial in supplement form.
Vitamin E and C are powerful health-giving vitamins. One study of 11,178 people, aged 67 to 105 years old, found very good results from combining vitamins E and C. Those who were taking vitamin E supplements at the beginning of the study had a 34% lower risk of death from heart disease than those who were not. The combination of vitamins E and C together created a total risk reduction of 53%.
Coenzyme Q10 is another uniquely potent nutrient. It is found in every cell in the body. CoQ10 was first used by the Japanese to strengthen the heart muscle. In one study, treatment with Q10 four times a day for four weeks reduced the frequency of angina attacks (heart pain) by 53 percent and also increased the patient’s exercise tolerance — all without any side effects (American Journal of Cardiology).
As the heart is basically a muscle, its strength can be greatly increased with regular exercise and physical activity. One example is a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association where researchers learned that higher levels of physical fitness can prolong people’s lives overall, mostly due to lowered rates of cardiovascular (heart) disease and cancer.
Brisk walking is an excellent choice of exercise (one of the best), and so is stair-climbing, bicycling, swimming and various team sports. These are all very beneficial when done regularly. If you’re just beginning an exercise program, take it slowly at first and build it up gradually.
Keep your heart happily humming along by doing a variety of enjoyable exercises at your own pace and adding some heart-loving foods and supplements to your diet.