Whether you are building endurance as a new athlete, or maintaining an aging heart with a family history, everyone should be more aware of their cardiovascular health. This pillar is about exploring the different aspects of heart health from a nutritional and functional perspective. Start building a routine and regimen that makes it easy to maintain your current heart health. Find out what minerals are required for your heart to function at its best and what you should consider in your diet. Learn how to have better conversations about how your heart works and what causes health disturbances.
Heart Health will include the following topics:
- Heart Structure and Function
- Nutrients To Function Optimally
- Research and Findings
- Tactics to Improve Outcomes
How the Heart Dictates Health
A major component to total body wellness is blood and – more importantly – the heart. Blood provides the quickest form of transport for nutrients, white blood cells, and oxygen throughout the body.
However, blood could not transport anything without the powerful contractions of the heart. World-recognized doctors, such as Dr. Carolyn Dean, recognize that this singular organ is indirectly responsible for the continued processes of ATP production and life itself.
Not the Only Organ
Despite its importance to the body, it is important to recognize that the heart is impacted by the health of the entire body. For example, recent research reveals a correlation between heart health and dental health, with oral bacterial infections actively contributing to non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Once bacteria in the mouth has accumulated to a state of advanced gum disease, it begins to leak into the bloodstream. This induces an inflammatory response, thanks to the constant production of exotoxins and endotoxins.
The same study also showed a significant link between oral hygiene and obesity. Obesity is a further major cause of cardiovascular issues. See the attached PDF for more information on how obesity affects the human body.
Heart Structure and Function
The heart’s architecture is vital to its performance. It has a left side and a right side, separated by the thin muscular septum. Both sides have an upper and lower chamber, all four of which play their own role in blood transportation.
First, deoxygenated blood flows into the right side of the heart, entering the atrium. Drawn down by gravity, the blood flows through the valve and enters the right-hand ventricle. At this point, the heart beats. This beat forces the deoxygenated blood up the pulmonary artery, toward the lungs.
After the red blood cells have become loaded with oxygen from the lungs, the oxygen-rich blood enters the heart through the left-hand atrium and is then forced into the left ventricle. This ventricle produces intensely high pressure. From this pressure, the oxygenated blood is forced through the aorta artery, to the rest of the body.
Throughout this process, there are three valves that prevent the blood flowing backward. These valves allow the varying pressure differences. Surrounding the four main chambers of the heart, there are three layers of tissue. First is Endocardium, a thin layer of muscle cells that line the chambers themselves. Next is a thick middle layer, made up of powerful interwoven muscle fibers. Finally, the pericardium surrounds the organ, forming a thin, protective outer lining.
Nutrients to Function Optimally
Health experts warn of the potentially catastrophic impact of cardiovascular disease the US unless there is a dramatic shift in attitude amongst the general population. Eating for heart health can make a huge difference, with leafy greens being especially beneficial, thanks to their high quantities of Vitamin K, which helps prevent plaque buildup in the arteries.
How to Keep your Heart Healthy
Just as diet plays a vital role in heart health, so too does exercise. Like any muscle, the heart benefits from regular exercise. And just walking may not be enough for peak cardiovascular protection – it is important to cause enough stress to activate the metabolic molecular pathways. For this, moderate to vigorous exercise is vital. 30 minutes a day offers peak protection against cardiovascular events such as a heart attack.
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