It is no coincidence that Valentine’s Day and National Heart Month both fall in February. While the heart has been associated with love for centuries, many of us do not always love our hearts. We may lead stressful lives, eat the wrong kinds of food (and too much of it), smoke, or neglect to exercise. While the heart is an amazing organ, beating continuously our entire lives, it has limits.
There is another reason February is an ideal time to support a healthy heart — winter is more stressful on the cardiovascular system. Scientists aren’t entirely sure how the winter months affect our hearts — it may have something to do with immunity, the stress of the holidays, or even seasonal mood swings. So, now is the time to show your heart a little TLC.
Fortunately, new research shows that certain foods and “super nutrients” support total cardiovascular health and better circulation. And these work whether you have been diagnosed with some form of heart disease or want to avoid future problems.
Your Diet Has the Greatest Impact on Your Heart
Of all the factors that influence health, diet may have the greatest impact. The most important way any of us can love our hearts is by making healthy food choices. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains (preferably gluten-free options), lean protein (including omega-3-rich fish) — the heart loves them. What the heart does not love are foods with refined sugars, carbs, fats, and other highly processed ingredients. These are full of toxins that can harm the heart. Some standout heart-healthy foods backed by research to add to your diet:
Pomegranates — shown to lower LDL cholesterol and boost blood flow to the heart in those with heart disease. Most of the studies are on pomegranate juice and extracts, both extra-rich in antioxidants.
Blueberries — packed with anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants shown to support blood vessel health and lower high blood pressure. Strawberries offer similar benefits.
Cranberries — a major source of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are linked to a lower risk of heart disease, hardening of the arteries, improved blood flow, stroke, and diabetes.
Apples — packed with pectin, which is a fiber-rich compound shown to significantly reduce blood fats. The peels are high in polyphenols, so avoid peeling. And buy organic apples — conventional apples are heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Grapefruit — teaming with compounds that help inhibit narrowing of the arteries, lower cholesterol, and bring down high blood pressure. If you are taking any prescription medications, check with your doctor first, as grapefruit can interact with some drugs.
Tomatoes — numerous studies show that tomatoes, which are rich in an antioxidant called lycopene, help reduce atherosclerosis risk. Lycopene has also been shown to lower high triglycerides, a marker of heart disease.
Green tea — shown in multiple studies to promote overall cardiovascular health, reduced risk of blood clots, and healthy cholesterol levels.
Atlantic mackerel, wild salmon, and sardines — these fish are high in omega-3 fats, which have been shown in published research to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular-related conditions.
Beans — a protein-rich source of soluble fiber, proven to reduce cholesterol and heart disease risk.
Nuts — people who eat nuts five or more times per week have a reduced risk of heart disease, according to research. Walnuts are highest in heart-protective omega-3 fats. Almonds, pecans, pistachios, and macadamia nuts offer heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Olive oil is another major source of monounsaturated fats.
New Research on Modified Citrus Pectin and Heart Health
Another way you can love your heart is with “super nutrient” supplements. One exceptional nutrient for cardiovascular health is EcoNugenics’ PectaSol Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP). Numerous published studies back this up.
PectaSol directly supports heart health by controlling an inflammatory protein called galectin-3. In fact, recent research published by the American Heart Association showed that PectaSol’s ability to bind to galectin-3 — and help tame its inflammatory overreactions — helped enhance cardiovascular health.
The relationship between galectin-3 and the cardiovascular system has become so well established that the Food and Drug Administration has approved a galectin-3 test to help maintain heart health. This blood test is now widely available from various labs.
How to Boost Your Circulation with Herbs
Healthy blood flow helps transport nutrients and oxygen to organs while removing waste and toxins. Strong circulation also supports healthy immune response and high energy levels. In addition to regular exercise and a healthy diet, there are specific foods, herbs and supplements that can help support proper blood flow and promote long-term cardiovascular health. Some top recommendations:
Basil, Saffron, & Garlic
A variety of herbs and extracts are shown to help relieve mild occasional stagnation, or blood that is not flowing properly. Experiencing cold hands and feet or pains in your legs or chest can be serious signs of a problem. Research shows that certain natural compounds such as basil, saffron, and garlic can effectively support healthy circulation by promoting clear and healthy arterial walls.
Tibetan Herbal Blend
Padma Basic is a blend of 19 unique botanicals based on an ancient Tibetan Herbal Formula. This specific formula has been clinically studied for over 30 years with results published in peer-reviewed journals. Superior circulation and cardiovascular health support are among its top benefits, but it also helps support immune health, thanks to its high antioxidant content.
Hawthorn berry has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to nourish and heal the heart. Legend has it that this tart berry can also help heal a broken heart. Published studies on this time-honored “therapeutic food” have demonstrated a range of cardiovascular health benefits, confirming hawthorn berry’s role in promoting normal circulation, healthy blood pressure, and optimal cholesterol levels. You can find hawthorn — along with other heart-healthy nutrients such as the enzyme nattokinase, medicinal mushrooms, and the amino acid L-carnitine — in ecoNugenics’ Circutol formula.
Research continues to show that foods and herbs like hawthorn berry, basil, fish, and nuts — along with innovative supplement formulas — actively support critical biological processes related to cardiovascular health. By seeking out these foods and adding at least one heart-healthy supplement to your daily regimen, you can get on the path to optimal heart health.
ecoNugenics’ “Top 3” for Cardiovascular Health
Formulated by award-winning Integrative Medicine expert and best-selling author, Isaac Eliaz, MD, PectaSol is the leading supplement for enhancing the body’s most essential self-healing mechanics.
A clinically-proven herbal supplement based on a classical Tibetan formula, shown in over 50 published studies to provide comprehensive support for cardiovascular, immune and other key areas of health.*