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Healthy Heart, Healthy You!

A healthy heart is one of the most important keys to your overall health! We encourage everyone to learn more about how to live a healthier life starting by taking the best care of your heart!

We want to share these 25 Ways to Get Moving at Home from the American Heart Association and recommend visiting their website to learn more about Heart Health and Healthy Living!

A Healthy Life starts with a Healthy Heart.

Click below to visit their website and learn more about Heart Health!

Learn More About Heart Health!

Chronic Stress Can Harm the Heart – What can we do?

Stress hormones can increase inflammation, alter metabolism, and interfere with digestion. Every cell in the body can be negatively impacted by chronic stress, and the heart is no exception. With chronic stress, your heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cortisol levels remain elevated. Let’s discuss what stress hormones actually do to the body.

Over time the HPA axis can become dysregulated, and your body can’t break down excess cortisol as efficiently as it used to. The way the body responds to cortisol changes, leading to widespread inflammation. Constant exposure to inflammatory molecules can damage tissues, including the heart and circulatory system. Blood vessels might begin to thicken or harden – a process called atherosclerosis – making it harder for the heart to pump blood to the tissues. High blood pressure and elevated blood sugar increase oxidative stress as well, another cause of damage to cardiovascular tissues. Learning to manage stress in constructive ways will benefit overall health – helping you feel better in your body now and in the future.

Research has found that meditation can positively affect a measure of heart health known as heart rate variability (HRV). HRV reflects how quickly your heart makes small changes in the time interval between each heartbeat. A high HRV is a sign of a healthier heart. A 2013 study found that low HRV is associated with a 32% to 45% increased risk of heart attack or stroke among people without cardiovascular disease.

With regular meditation, you may be able to raise your HRV. A 2013 study found that people who did five minutes of meditation daily for 10 days had a better HRV compared with those who didn't meditate.

A number of high-quality studies also show that meditation can modestly lower blood pressure, according to a 2013 American Heart Association scientific statement published in Hypertension. One analysis pooled results from nine studies and found that, on average, meditation lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number in a reading) by 4.7 milligrams of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by 3.2 mm Hg.

Apart from meditation, nutrients like magnesium, fish oil, CoQ10 and fiber help support healthy heart function.

Light Activity Key to Reversing Childhood Obesity, Study Says

New research indicates that light physical activity may be the key to reversing childhood obesity, finding that activities like long walks, household chores, and biking were associated with a larger reduction in total body fat mass than shorter bursts of moderate-to-vigorous exercise.

The study, published in Nature Communications, was conducted by researchers from University of Exeter, University of Finland, University of Bristol, and University of Colorado. Previous research has found a significant link between sedentary lifestyles in children and adolescent obesity. To combat obesity, the World Health Organization recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise each day. However, according to the study, 80 percent of adolescents fail to meet that number.

The findings revealed that light physical activity is up to ten times more effective than moderate-to-vigorous activity in reducing fat mass gain. During the 13-year period, sedentary time increased significantly, while light physical activity decreased. Each minute of light activity was linked to a 3.6-gram reduction in body fat, indicating a substantial impact on overall fat mass reduction. In contrast, moderate-to-vigorous activity showed a minimal effect on fat mass.

Ultra-processed food consumption increases cardiovascular disease risk

Developing healthier eating habits is one of the biggest factors in lowering your risk of Cardiovascular disease. Changing the way we eat is often the simplest change we can make that has the greatest overall impact on positive health outcomes.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most common cause of death worldwide. Although the link between diet and CVD is well known, the connection between ultra-processed foods and CVD has not been well delineated. Ultra-processed foods are made from substances derived from additives in food. And although they contain little to no whole foods, ultra-processed foods dominate the food system.

A recent study of 155,000 U.S. adults, ages 55-74, investigated whether ultra-processed foods have a clearly delineated role in CVD and mortality. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding health and social status, dietary composition, and physical activity. Follow-up occurred approximately 14 years after the initial intake, during which time there were 5,490 cardiovascular related deaths.

The participants with the highest intake of ultra-processed foods were at increased risk of CVD and heart disease-related death. In addition, individuals with the highest intake of ultra-processed foods also had a higher rate of all-cause mortality. Interestingly, while the highest rates of intake were among men, the harmful association between ultra-processed foods and CVD was more pronounced in women. The authors suggest several explanations, including the protective effect of higher testosterone levels in men and the disparities in cardiovascular disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment between men and women.

More Evidence Links Oral Health and Gut Bacteria to Cardiovascular Disease

There is a direct link between systemic inflammation, coronary artery disease, and an excess of bacteria commonly found in the mouth. That’s the conclusion of a recent cross-sectional study published in the journal Circulation that featured nearly 9,000 participants aged 50 to 65 without overt heart disease. 

The study looked at coronary artery calcium scores and coronary computed tomography angiography, as well as inflammatory markers in saliva. Gut microbiota species were assessed using shotgun metagenomics sequencing of fecal samples. The researchers found that the Streptococci species in saliva correlated with worse dental health, higher C-reactive protein, and increased artery calcium scores independent of cardiovascular risk factors. The strongest associations were with Streptococcus anginosus and Streptococcus oralis. On the flipside certain species of gut microbiota, such as lactobacillus rhamnosus specifically and lactobacilli and bifidobacterium, in general, can help reduce risk. In addition, a 2022 randomized double-blind controlled trial in the journal Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome featuring patients with type 2 diabetes found that probiotic supplementation for six weeks led to a significant improvement in major cardiovascular disease-related parameters.

Foods that influence LDL cholesterol levels

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the most common cause of death in the United States. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are a key indicator of cardiovascular health, with elevated LDL associated with higher risk for CVD. Consequently, understanding the impact of food on LDL cholesterol is a valuable tool for supporting cardiovascular health. In a large review study, published guideline documents (n=37), systematic reviews (n=108), and randomized controlled trials (n=20) were evaluated to determine the overall degree of evidence available to correlate a variety of foods with changes in LDL cholesterol.

The study found strong evidence for the largest reductions in LDL with using oils high in polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fats, such as rapeseed or canola oils, when used as a replacement for half of the saturated fats in the diet (like the Nordic diet discussed below). Soluble dietary fiber – like psyllium, beta-glucans, or oats – provided moderate reductions in LDL when intake averaged 11 g/day, as did foods enriched with plant sterols and stanols, such as fortified yogurts, when intake averaged 2.2 g/day.

Other types of fiber had smaller lowering effects. Moderate lowering effects were also seen with avocado (about one daily in place of other fats) and turmeric (600 mg curcuminoids on average). There was some evidence that flaxseed (38 g/day), soy protein (26 g/day), and tomatoes (300 g/day) also provided small-to-moderate reductions in LDL cholesterol. Foods rich in saturated or trans fats markedly increased LDL, as did large quantities (~6 cups/day) of unfiltered coffee, although decaffeinated and filtered coffee had no effect.

Bergamot BPF and Ubiquinol a perfect combination for lowering Cholesterol

Cholesterol levels are a hot topic and a major concern for many people. Let's talk about how to maintain balanced cholesterol levels in the body with a more natural approach.

Bergamot is a citrus fruit that contains polyphenols, which may help reduce cholesterol, blood glucose, and inflammation. Clinical trials show that with the use of Bergamot, LDL is down 36% and triglycerides are down 39% while raising healthy HDL by at least 40%!

Bergamot BPF by Ortho Molecular products is a great resource when it comes to reducing high levels of “bad” cholesterol.

High levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood have been linked to heart disease, making it a health concern. However, recent evidence suggests that eating foods high in cholesterol, such as eggs, may not significantly affect the cholesterol levels in your blood. There are different types of cholesterol:

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), often called “bad” cholesterol, contributes to plaque formation. 

High-density lipoprotein (HDL), known as “good” cholesterol, discourages plaque buildup.

With lowered CoQ10 levels due to statin use, LDL cholesterol becomes more susceptible to oxidation, which is a risk factor for certain vascular conditions.

Ubiquinol by Ortho Molecular products contains the Activated, Antioxidant Form Of Coq10 That Helps Protect Cells.

Ubiquinol helps maintain healthy LDL cholesterol levels in healthy people. It can also assist in lowering levels of LDL cholesterol with consistent use. Ubiquinol can help defend against the oxidation of LDL cholesterol by inactivating free radicals. 

Remember that Bergamot BPF and CoQ10 are not a substitute for medical advice, and it’s essential to discuss any supplements with your healthcare provider.

Carditone by Ayush for Optimum Blood Pressure support

Blood Pressure is an extremely important part of heart health as we age, and keeping our blood pressure regulated can be difficult. Especially if you don’t want to use traditional blood pressure medications.Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. 

Ayush Herbs Carditone may help keep your heart healthy by reducing blood pressure and keeping oxidative stress of tissue at bay. It has been trusted for over 35 years and contains heart healthy macronutrients and phytochemicals. Carditone is a combination of patented extracts used traditionally to support blood pressure levels already within the normal range and also has calming properties, and several other herbs and minerals. Using a proprietary blend of pure herbal extracts, including arjuna, Rauwolfia serpentina, rose, and Punarnava, to create an Ayurvedic supplement. Added magnesium and other minerals help maintain balanced electrolytes. Terminalia arjuna is traditionally used as heart support; Boerhaavia diffusa is considered renal supportive; rose powder has calming effects; and magnesium supports cardiovascular health by helping to maintain healthy levels of calcium and potassium.

Inspired by the wisdom of Ayurvedic practices, Ayush Herbs joins these traditions with the latest scientific technology to provide the highest-quality Ayurvedic herbal supplements. As always, consult with your doctor, especially if you have prior conditions or are taking medications. Carditone by Ayush Herbs can be a great alternative to taking Diuretics, Beta-blockers and ACE-inhibitors. Remember that lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and reducing salt intake, can also play a crucial role in managing high blood pressure.

Omega-3 Fish Oil by Carlson for Overall Heart health

Everyone has heard of Omega-3s, but not everyone is aware of how they contribute to heart health. Fish Oil supplements are a great addition to any heart health regimine.

Carlson Labs Omega-3 Fish Oil is a high grade fish oil supplement that prides itself on freshness and doesn’t have a “fishy” smell or taste like some fish oil supplements on the market today. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), they play a crucial role in brain function and development. There have been more than 40,000 published studies on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. 

Some of the benefits of using Omega-3 Fish Oil for heart health are, Reducing Triglycerides: Omega-3s help lower triglyceride levels in the blood, which is beneficial for heart health. Preventing Irregular Heartbeats: These fatty acids can reduce the risk of developing irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Slowing Plaque Buildup: Omega-3s slow down the accumulation of plaque in arteries. Plaque is a mixture of fat, cholesterol, and calcium that can harden and block blood vessels.

Omega-3s are beneficial for heart, brain, vision, joint, and immune health, and since our body can’t make them, we must obtain them through our diet or a supplement.

Remember that while supplements can be beneficial, it’s also essential to include omega-3-rich foods in your diet. Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, is an excellent natural source of these heart-healthy fatty acids. 

Carlson Omega-3 Fish Oil uses high-quality omega-3 products that are closely managed from sea to store. Sourced from the highest quality, deep, cold water fish using traditional, sustainable methods. Carlson liquid fish oils are bottled with a touch of antioxidants and are given a nitrogen flush to remove air, prevent oxidation, and ensure long-lasting freshness. The soft gels are encapsulated using the same high standards.

The different types of Neuropathy and how Vessel Forte can help

Autonomic neuropathy can damage the nerves of the cardiovascular system, affecting heart rate and blood pressure. Blood pressure may drop sharply after you sit or stand, causing a feeling of lightheadedness. Heart rate may remain high or too low instead of fluctuating with body functions and exercise. Cardiac Autonomic Neuropathy (CAN): This is a type of dysfunction commonly found in people with diabetes. It results from damage to the nerves that lead to the heart and blood vessels. 

Vessel Forte by Designs for Health is a synergistic combination of botanical extracts extensively researched for their benefits to blood vessel health. Its ingredients are beneficial in supporting optimum blood and lymph circulation, and the strength and elasticity of blood vessels. Vessel Forte also provides antioxidant benefits and helps support a healthy inflammatory response.

Peripheral neuropathy happens when the nerves that are located outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves) are damaged. This condition often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in the hands and feet. Many people suffer with the different forms of neuropathy and try many products that don’t seem to provide relief. Peripheral neuropathy can affect one nerve, called mononeuropathy. If it affects two or more nerves in different areas, it's called multiple mononeuropathy, and if it affects many nerves, it's called polyneuropathy. Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example of mononeuropathy. Most people with peripheral neuropathy have polyneuropathy.

There are many types of health conditions, such as Diabetes, especially if your sugar levels are not controlled well. Alcohol misuse, Low levels of vitamins in the body, especially vitamin B-12. Infections, such as Lyme disease, shingles, hepatitis B and C, and HIV. Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, in which the immune system attacks your own tissues. Kidney, liver or thyroid disorders. Exposure to toxins. Repetitive motion, such as those performed for certain jobs and Family history of neuropathy can all be contributing factors to experiencing neuropathy. Vessel Forte by Designs for Health can help ease some of the symptoms associated with these conditions and help improve your quality of life.

Avocado and Heart health

Who doesn’t love a good avocado? Did you know that they are also extremely good for your heart? Avocados are rich in several phytonutrients that could provide protective effects for heart disease, including antioxidants, MUFAs, and phytosterols. 

These dietary components are known to improve lipid profiles in the bloodstream. Avocados have been shown to contain 4 to 6 grams of fiber per half avocado, which contributes to a high-fiber diet. Women who eat 25 grams of fiber per day have been shown to have a lower associated cardiac disease risk, including lower blood pressure. A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that women consuming 2.5+ avocados per week had a 17% lower rate of hypertension than those who ate fewer servings.

Walking and health

A study published in JAMA Internal medicine showed that people taking up to 10,000 steps per day reduced risk of death (from cancer, CVD, or any cause) and risk of cancer and CVD incidence. Every 2,000 steps taken by participants was associated with a reduction in the risk of dying of cancer by 11% and of CVD by 10%. This lowering of deaths for every 2,000 steps held true and intensity of the steps we take also seems to matter as well. Higher intensity, or “purposeful,” steps that we take on a walk (≥40 steps/minute) are associated with a lower risk of all outcomes studied, slightly more than for those steps taken wandering into a room and wondering why you are there (“incidental” steps at <40 steps/minute). People who clocked a faster pace on average over their speediest 30 minutes each day also saw greater risk reductions in incidence of CVD and cancer, or of dying from these or other causes.

Heart healthy fat bundle

These statement are not evaluated by FDA *

Sometimes using more than one product can help your supplements efficacy and optimize your heart health. Try using these products together during American Heart Health Awareness month for great results.

Healthy Lipids Bundle Details

Cholesterol – which is part lipid and part protein – is not all bad. In fact, cholesterol has many important functions in the body and is necessary for, among other things, the formation of the hormones testosterone and estrogen, the formation of vitamin D, and the formation of other important compounds necessary for good health. The key to having healthy lipid levels, including cholesterol – as with most things in life – is balance.

Choleast-900 is a red yeast rice formula that provides naturally occurring monacolins, phytosterols, and isoflavones that help maintain healthy lipid levels.* Red yeast rice also promotes healthy lipid particle size and number.* Numerous studies conducted in China and the United States support the use of red yeast rice for helping to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.*

Berberine is a constituent of several plants, including Berberis aristata (Indian barberry). Recent studies show this impressive alkaloid has many beneficial actions on metabolic activities, including maintaining healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.* In addition, berberine has been shown in numerous clinical studies to support healthy blood sugar levels.*

Curcumin Phytosome  is an antioxidant that helps maintain a normal inflammatory response in the body’s blood vessels.* This is important because not having a normal inflammatory response in the blood vessels has been shown to have an adverse impact on cardiovascular health.* Meriva also provides antioxidant support that helps offset LDL oxidation.* As the most clinically studied form of curcumin on the market, curcumin in the form of Meriva has demonstrated 29-times better absorption than ordinary curcumin.*

What does C-reactive protein measure? What are CRP levels telling me?

The measure of C-reactive protein levels in your blood is an accurate biomarker for inflammation in your body – both general inflammation as well as cardiac-related inflammation. It’s just as important to check for normal CRP levels as it is to test your cholesterol levels. Research shows that only 50 percent of people who suffered heart attacks had high LDL levels. An otherwise healthy individual with a high CRP level is four times more likely to have heart and blood vessel disease.

How is C-reactive protein testing done? It’s a simple blood test (called a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein [hs-CRP] test), just like testing for cholesterol, blood sugar, and other biomarkers. Many medical practitioners are now routinely checking C-reactive protein, meaning it’s easier to determine who’s at risk. CRP is measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L). Mayo Clinic guidelines for a standard CRP test classify anything less than 10 mg/L as a normal CRP level, and anything equal to or greater than 10 mg/L as high.

Although the hs-CRP test does not specifically diagnose any disease, having an elevated CRP level is a sign of inflammation somewhere in your body. So, your health-care professional might order a CRP test to monitor chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease. Your CRP can also be high if you have an acute infection. Because C-reactive protein levels rise and fall based on inflammation, it is often an effective way of monitoring treatment.

Transcendental Meditation Improves Cardiac Arterial Disease

This was a proof-of-concept pilot study. It was the first to combine TM with other lifestyle treatment modalities like structured exercise and dietary counseling, and the first to use PET to measure the effect of mind-body lifestyle modification on cardiac function. The results suggest that adding Transcendental Meditation to patients’ cardiac rehabilitation regime increased blood flow to the heart by 20.7% in those who completed the study.

Bokhari S, Schneider RH, Salerno JW, Rainforth MV, Gaylord-King C, Nidich S. Effects of cardiac rehabilitation with and without meditation on myocardial blood flow using quantitative positron emission tomography: a pilot study. J Nucl Cardiol. Published online Sept. 16, 2019. doi: 10.1007/s12350-019-01884-9.

Air Pollution Worsens Heart Failure Outcomes

In the United States, the prevalence of HF is increasing. By 2030, an estimated 8 million individuals will have HF, a 46% increase from 2012. In 2012, the total cost of HF in the United States was estimated at $30.7 billion, with approximately 68% of those costs coming from direct healthcare costs such as hospital visits and inpatient stays. By 2030, the cost of HF is estimated to grow to $69.8 billion, a 127% increase.

It is well-established that long-term exposure to air pollution raises the risk of being admitted to the hospital. A 2019 study by Danesh Yazdi reported that long‐term exposure to PM2.5 was associated with an increased likelihood of an inpatient admission among the Medicare population, even in areas where PM2.5 concentrations were below the current annual National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 12 µg/m. The biological mechanisms to explain these associations have been well explained and include systemic inflammation, increased activation of the autonomic nervous system, and oxidative stress induced by penetration of PM2.5 particles into the respiratory tract. 

Data such as those presented in this and other recent studies suggest that specific subgroups of patients—in this case, those with congestive heart failure—may benefit from reducing their exposure to PM2.5. Exposure can be reduced using modern ventilation and filtration systems in homes and commercial buildings. Modern cars come equipped with in-cabin air filters. These filters are inexpensive and are designed to be replaced at regular intervals, yet few people are aware of this, nor are they aware that these filters are available as HEPA filters specifically designed to remove fine particulates.

Here is a video of DIY on potable air filter -

Save on Heart Health Products for the entire month of February! Use Code "HealthyHeart10" for 10% off at Checkout!

Here at The Natural Alternative we pride ourselves on providing research-based formulas and scientifically designed programs that are tailored to your specific needs. High quality ingredients are of the utmost importance when it comes to any detox program or protocol.

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