What are you doing to keep your heart healthy?

heart-health

FEBRUARY 2015 – February is Healthy Heart month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Many believe heart disease to be a “man’s” disease, but it is equally prevalent in women.

There are ways to lower the risk of developing heart disease. One method is to eat dark chocolate. It’s true! Eating dark chocolate in moderation helps with mild high blood pressure. Dark chocolate acts as an antioxidant which helps fight free radicals. Free radicals are destructive molecules that can cause heart disease and other serious illnesses.

The plant flavonoids from cocoa help prevent cholesterol from building up in the blood vessels. Cocoa also contains a chemical called epicatechin that improves blood flow through vessels. Epicatechin keeps your blood flowing well through your body and keeps your heart strong.

This is not to say you should run out and consume large amounts of chocolate. Milk chocolate has lots of sugars and additives, but does not contain the same benefits as dark chocolate. Also, dark chocolate with caramel or marshmallow inside is not helpful either. These contain too many calories and fats that are not good for you.
A small amount of dark chocolate a few times a week balanced with a healthy diet will reap the best benefits.

How about a glass of wine? Drinking red wine also can help with heart disease prevention. Red wine contains antioxidants, which increase the levels of the “good” cholesterol needed to prevent heart disease. Red wine contains polyphenols that help protect the lining in the blood vessels in your heart.

Any alcohol, including red wine, should be used in moderation. Drinking too much wine can actually have the opposite effect on your heart.

Over use of alcohol can cause high blood pressure, heart failure and increases your calorie intake. This can lead to obesity and diabetes among other diseases.
Maintaining a good balance of healthy diet and exercise is your best line of defense when it comes to heart disease. Eat lean meats and avoid foods high in cholesterol or high in salt. Select low fat dairy products and cut back on foods with added sugars.

Exercise is very important in defeating heart disease and obesity. Exercise helps dilate the blood vessels and allows blood to flow through more smoothly. Walking is one of the best exercises for your heart.

If it has been a while since you exercised, start slowly and work up to a brisk walk. Aerobic exercises are another great way to keep the heart healthy. According to the National Cholesterol Education Program, measuring the lipoprotein subgroups is the only way to accurately assess cardiovascular risk. Kansas City Chiropractic offers this screening and other micronutrient testing that allows you to be aware of your nutritional health. Call and set up an appointment today and get started on being responsible about your healthy heart.

Article by Dr. Lynn McInosh. Dr. McIntosh is a board-certified chiropractor licensed in Kansas and Missouri. In addition to being licensed to provide general chiropractic care, she is also a certified chiropractic sports physician, working with athletes from multiple disciplines on specific sports-related problems. She’s also a certified acupuncturist. To learn more call 816-753-4600 or visit KansasCityChiropractic.com

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