February is “Heart Month”

Fact: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.
Fact: Annually 1 in 4 deaths are a result of heart disease.
Fact: Heart disease is very often preventable when people are willing to educated themselves and then make healthy choices regarding their heart!

Hello and welcome to the House of Buckle Blog! February is National Heart Month in the United States and we want to educate you and help you make smart health choices regarding your heart! It’s kind of a big deal, so grab a paper and pen and listen up!

As we have already said, you can greatly impact your cardiovascular health just by simple education and then exacting some discipline to put what you learned into practice. In this blog we want to offer some simple everyday things you can do to improve your cardiovascular system and reduce your chances of heart disease. We are also going to highlight some recommended herbs that you can take that will also provide tremendous support for your heart. Let’s get started!

It is important to understand that heart disease doesn’t just affect older adults. Younger adults are at risk and this trend seems to be on the upswing, unfortunately. This is partly because the conditions that lead to heart disease are happening at younger ages today. What are some leading conditions that contribute to heart disease? Here is a list of five conditions that hurt your overall cardiovascular system:

  • Obesity: Its simple, the more extra weight you carry, the more stress you put on your heart. Latest studies show that the obesity rate in the United States is roughly at 25% or 1 in 4 people.
  • Bad diets: Most Americans eat too much salt and sugar and do not get enough fruits and vegetables.
  • Sedentary life styles: According to figures, only 23% of adults meet the federal standards for weekly activity (150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise each week).
  • High blood pressure: 78 million adults have high blood pressure in America. This equates to 1 in 3 adults! High blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease!
  • High blood cholesterol: 78 million adults have low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (range where experts recommend cholesterol medicine due to risk of heart disease)

Obviously, using the list above there are some simple changes we can make to our lifestyles to avoid these conditions such as health eating choices (eat foods low in trans-fats, saturated fats, sodium and sugar), stay active (make exercise a part of your regular weekly routine), and manage existing conditions (physical check-ups, make sure to follow your physician’s instructions and prescriptions, etc.). In addition to this, and being avid herbalist we also want to introduce you to some herbs that can do a terrific job supporting your cardio vascular system! As with any herb, always consult your physician before use.

Top 5 Herbs that Support Cardio Vascular Health:

  1. Hawthorn: In my opinion, the best option for herbal heart support. It is said to directly affect the cells of the heart muscle. This herb is also hypotensive, astringent, and diuretic. Best in tincture, or hot/cold infusion (tea).
  2. Hibiscus: I include in this list because they are rich with anti-oxidants and help support healthy heart rate, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. If you make a Hawthorn tea, you can add Hibiscus flowers to it for an added punch.
  3. Turmeric: This anti-inflammatory herb improves circulation, has anti-coagulant properties, and helps cholesterol levels. Find ways to cut Turmeric into your menu!
  4. Motherwort*: In the mint family, this is a bitter tonic and foremost a digestive stimulant. It is also anti-oxidant (helps in the metabolism of rancid fats and protects liver from free radicals), and has heart-healthy falvonoids and glycosides.
  5. Garlic: Used for centuries for a myriad of health benefits, garlic is awesome for healthy circulation, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Eat often in various dishes of your choice!

*Caution: Motherwort is an emmenagogue (increases menstrual flow). DO NOT take if you are pregnant!

Honorable mention: Rosemary, Cinnamon, Nettles

In summary, and in light of National Heart Month, give your heart some love by looking at/adjusting your diet, get and stay active and consider adding one or more of the above herbs to your regimen. And as always, consult your physician before taking on a new fitness plan, diet change, and/or herb use!

Have a great day and remember, your best wealth is your health!