Care of the Heart & Cardiovascular System
The cardiovascular system includes the heart and blood vessels. There are many forms of dis-ease associated with the heart. It is the number one health problem in the Western world, which makes a loud meta-statement about the state of love, for the heart is the symbol of love and security. Metaphysically heart attacks are invited into a body when the joy is squeezed out. When stress and fear outweigh nurturing and pleasure, the heart hardens.
Clearly this is not the place to go into the many serious heart diseases, but it is a good space to create new possibilities of thinking about heart care. It is the perfect time to consider dietary changes, create a different work space, and up-date exercise attitudes. This is the most wonderful moment to call joy, and vibrancy into daily habits and ritual.
Of course consult with your physician before taking anything, especially if you have heart and blood issues.
Nutrients Important to the Cardiovascular System
Coenzyme Q & Germanium improve oxygenation in the tissues
Calcium & Magnesium support the muscular aspect of the heart
L Carnitine reduces triglycerides and fats in the blood
Lecithin and Vitamin E- Lecithin acts as a fat emulsifier, and E speeds its assimilation.
Vitamin E also strengthens the immune system, improves circulation, and destroys free radicals.
Primrose oil, or black currant oil, or olive oil are all sources of essential fatty acids that prevent the hardening of the arteries.
Fresh lemon juice is a wonderful blood purifier that improves circulation and helps lower high blood pressure. Drink a non-sugared lemonade first thing every morning.
If blood pressure is low, drink ginger tea, add ginger to foods, along with the combination of apple cider vinegar, honey, and water, another good low pressure stabilizer.
Include lots of garlic, (lowers high blood pressure) onions and greens in your food, especially raw greens. Enjoy almonds and nuts, but not peanuts, salmon, trout, tuna, and herring. These contain essential fatty acids that support the heart.
The following is common sense that everyone knows but ignores. This is only a reminder to help re-boot. Eliminate stimulants such as Coke, teas, and coffee, also the all too available fried, greasy stuff. No salt, no MSG, or smoking. A teensy bit of sugar or alcohol is important for a balance, as is a smashing cheese, but not as daily intake. But walk away from lashings of butter, meats, especially fatty red meats, as in burgers, and the bun it walked in on. Lower intake of all white flower products. If at first, you don’t like the taste of whole grains, especially in bread and pasta, then do half and half. Shun almost all prepared, (frozen) and or preserved foods such as bacon or ham. Watch the labels on canned goods, note high sodium levels.
Like rivers, we can pour sludge into the arterial system for a long time before it clogs. If given the opportunity, it will unclog and heal itself to a great degree, but it needs loving attention and care. If ignored long enough the sludge takes over and the river disappears.
If you think your blood pressure is abnormal, check with your physician.
Here’s the really hard stuff
Keep stress at a minimum.
Pay attention to your grief. You can’t outrun it. Mourn with your whole heart, then accept the loss, release the burden of depression, and move on, step by slow step. Often, it is the inability to lay down the heaviness of the load that destroys the heart. Reach out for a loved one, a friend who can stagger along with you. One who will bear witness and not offer advice on how you should be. Only the angelic ones keep their mouth shut while they hold our hand. These are the grief specialists.
Walk tall and sashay whenever possible. Walk fast, especially with a friend, and or a pet. Find and appreciate connection. Become the one you look for.
Be as thin as possible, but jiggle with abandoned-pleasure.
Learn to sing and dance. It’s the joy, not the perfect pitch or the pointy toes that save us.
Find something you love to do, and a friend to share it with.
Learn to meditate, and visualize.
Link to stress and pay attention to the same rules.
“Spontaneous Healing” by Dr. Andrew Weil
“Prescription for Nutritional Healing” by Dr. James Balch, and Phyllis Balch
“Heal Your Body” by Louise Hay
“Herbal Medicine, the Natural Way to Get Well and Stay Well” by Dian D. Buchman
“Yoga & Ayurveda; Self Healing & Self Realization” by David Frawley
“The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies” by Vasant Lad
Basic Ayurvedic Tips for Cardiovascular Care
Prana, life force, sits in the heart of the heart and the mind. You know the old saying that we are only as old as our heart and our thinking. The practical Ayurvedic approach to heart-health is the same as the AMA: exercise, diet, meditation.
Showing up on the mat regularly is important. Depending on age, and dosha (Kapha needs the most vigorous, Vata the least) and how in shape you are. Begin the day with a series of Sun Salutations, breathing into and out of the heart center.
Kaphas are more prone to heart diseases and high cholesterol because of their tendency to low metabolism and slow digestion. They tend to put on weight, accumulating it around stomach and thighs, and often accumulate mucus in the chest area, which inhibits movement through the channels by its damp, heavy quality.
Herbs and ingredients to include in the diet are ginger and garlic.
Four Ayurvedic herbs are: Punarnava, kutki, gulwel sattva, and shilajit. I would recommend taking these under the care of an Ayurvedic Doctor.
If you are dealing with hypertension, here are some foods to help control it.
Eat raita, a delicious mix of cucumber (alkaline) yogurt, garlic, and herbs.
Mung dal soup with cumin, tumeric and cilantro.
Watermelon- It’s a mild diuretic.
A cup of mango jice, followed half an hour later by ½ cup warm milk with a pinch of cardamom, nutmeg, (and 1 tsp of ghee if your cholesterol is low.)
Apple Cider Vinegar, with tsp of honey and hot water, drink in the early morning. It helps regulate blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
Run if you can. Jump rope, or use a small trampoline, take a dance class.
Spend time in heart meditations.
Chant, using a lot of long, hot air, filling belly, lungs and heart with wonderful vibrations.
Poses for Heart Care
Remember – inversions create happiness
Sun Salutations, do 4-12 rounds and add jumping if its comfortable.
All poses that lift and open the chest. Breathe slowly and mindfully to the heart channels
Urdhva Dhanurasana- Back Bend Pose
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana-Bridge Pose
Pincha Mayurasana-Peacock Feather Pose
Adho Mukha Vrksasana-Handstand
Virabhadrasana-Warrior I Pose