To Be Young at Heart

To Be Young at Heart
By: Robyn Land

Fact: Your body contains roughly six quarts of blood that rushes through your body three times every minute. At that speed, your blood travels almost 12,000 miles (19,000km) in a single day.1

Your heart began to beat roughly 22 days after conception. From that point onward, like the drummer of your own band, it has provided the cadence for your life. It is an amazing, 10-12 ounce organ that is controlled not only by your body’s physical demands but by your emotions as well. You catch that cute guy’s glance across the room – your heart races. You find out he already has a girlfriend – your heart sinks. You’re embarrassed, your face flushes and you quickly exit the room – all the while, your heart keeps right up with you.

Did you know: your heart beats about 100,000 times in one day? That means that over the average lifespan, the human heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times

While we often equate our heart with these emotional and physical responses, rarely do we think about the work our heart does for us until the job is compromised. Sure, we may take second thought about the fast food we are quickly eating between meetings as to how many calories in contains or where the fat may depositing in our bodies but how often do you think about how food might be impacting your heart and the precious piping of arteries and veins that surround and support it? Your heart is your life and you can easily add, enhance and alter your lifestyle in ways that will help your heart be healthy and happy for years to come:

  • Breathe Deep! Your lungs rest around your heart and with every deep breath that you take, your lungs offer your heart a gentle massage. Just like all our other muscles, massages are great!
  • Get moving! Aerobic exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system, improves your circulation and makes you feel alert, relaxed and happy.2
  • Eat well! While it might take a little extra planning, eating well can have the greatest impact on your heart health and overall lifestyle. Pre-plan your meals to help eliminate the need to grab fast-food lunches. Include heart-healthy fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, spinach, kale, tomatos and apples. Increase your fiber intake with steel cut oats for breakfast, or a tablespoon of ground flax seeds sprinkled into your salad or baking. Fiber helps to bind the unwanted fats and cholesterol that we eat and helps escort it out of our bodies.
  • Boost your nutrition! While getting adequate nutrition from your food is important, supplements can provide a great way to get extra nutrients that may be lacking in your diet (especially those who have restricted diets). Supplements that reduce inflammation such as Omega-3s and those that promote a healthy heart such as Vitamin B3, Vitamin D, Coenzyme Q10 are all great choices to talk to your health care practitioner about.

Did you know: Blue Whales have the largest heart of any animal? It is the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, weighs 1300lb and can pump 15,000 pints of blood per minute. Their aorta (the main artery running off the heart) is so large, a human can stand upright in the diameter of it. They live up to 80 years and do all this off a diet that is almost entirely krill.3

It is amazing that the world’s largest animal feasts on a diet of these tiny crustaceans. Packed with heart-healthy Omega-3 oils and the powerful anti-oxidant and anti-aging properties of their red pigment carotenoid called astaxantin, krill make for the perfect fuel for the blue whales. And if it’s good for the whales and their heart, it must be good for me!

References

  1. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/heart/heartfacts.html
  2. http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/exercise-healthy-heart
  3. http://www.nimr.org/research/cardiac.html