How to have a heart-healthy New Year
When you make your New Year’s Resolutions this year, don’t forget to include heart health. After all, there’s only one to a customer. If you want to optimize your heart health, a new book can lead the way. Brenda Watson’s “Heart of Perfect Health” is filled with information that can fine-tune this essential organ.
Ms. Watson notes that few would argue that we are at a serious point regarding the health of Americans. Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in our nation and 1 in 3 people have some form of cardiovascular disease. Her area of focus has always been digestion; therefore, she did not envision that she would write a book about heart disease. However, as time progressed, her family experienced heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, weight gain, and diabetes. As a result, understanding these issues became very personal for hers. Her mantra has always been: “Heal your gut, heal your body,” knowing digestive health is connected to heart health.
She points out that when she consults with doctors and cardiologists regarding the root cause of chronic disease, their response s have overwhelmingly been inflammation. Studies clearly show that chronic, low-grade inflammation; also called silent inflammation, underlies heart disease and other chronic conditions. But what causes this silent inflammation?
You may be surprised to learn that the digestive system is the major source of silent inflammation, largely due to a condition known as leaky gut syndrome, or increased intestinal permeability. A host of dietary and digestive factors can trigger leaky gut and silent inflammation, ultimately leading to heart disease. Indeed, you must heal your gut to heal your heart.
There are three main warning signs of silent inflammation that should be monitored: (1) high blood pressure, (2) high cholesterol, and (3) high blood sugar. These markers, when ignored, allow the silent inflammation, like a smoldering fire, to trigger chronic disease in the body.
Ms. Watson explains that she is on a crusade to empower people to become their own health advocate and to share the simple steps that can be taken today to stop silent inflammation, heal the gut, and in many cases, prevent and even reverse heart disease and other chronic conditions. She notes that one can start with eating more fat. Beneficial omega-3 fats have been shown to decrease silent inflammation and improve heart health. Next, we must decrease our sugar intake. Sugar is like gasoline on the embers of silent inflammation. Last, we need more fiber: 35 grams daily. A diet high in non-starchy vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, lean proteins, nuts, and seeds, along with supplements to reach your goals, will help get you to the heart of perfect health.
In addition to explaining nutritional factors involved in heart health, the high-quality, beautifully illustrated book debunks common heart disease myths, such as “cholesterol is bad,” “only diabetics need to worry about blood sugar,” and “a low-fat diet is heart healthy.”