With cardiovascular disease being such a concerning issue for our modern society its about time we realised doctors and natural health practitioners need to work together to help minimise the suffering caused by this killer.
The naturopathic approach
Regardless of whether someone is on blood pressure medication, statins, or even diabetic medications, nutritional and naturopathic medicine has a lot to offer people with poor heart function or blood vessel weakness. Let’s look at it in steps:
1. Digestive health
Most people already know about the importance of fibre for reducing cholesterol absorption but did you know that healthy gut flora is a prerequisite for good absorption of macro and micro-nutrients. Without good digestion we can be prone to all kinds of infections, immune problems, inflammatory conditions and of course, nutrient deficiencies. One example that may have implications for heart health is omega 3s or essential fatty acids.
2. Nutrient deficiencies
Once we’ve corrected any underlying digestive disorders we need to check on nutrient status. Blood tests, hair analysis, for example, tell us if there is a need for additional supplementation with nutrients. The diet also needs to be looked at for what’s missing. In particular we’re looking for coenzyme Q10, fat soluble vitamins and omega 3s, vitamin D, C and of course, antioxidants.
As inflammation is the first stage of disease, anyone at risk of cardiovascular disease will feel a stronger sense of security when on an basic anti-inflammatory diet. That’s lots of veggies, super foods, omega 3s, herbs and spices, water and a reduction in sugar, hydrogenated fats, red meat and alcohol. Remember too that toxins such as mercury and other chemicals may need to be tested for as they can be the cause of unexplained inflammation.
The stress hormones are probably the main concern here for heart health. The stress hormones can wreak havoc on the body and produce inflammatory responses that lead to high blood pressure and other complaints. The approach here is two pronged – firstly working to help your mind deal with stress in a more productive way and secondly, using herbs and nutrients to help reduce the effects of bad stress on the body.
The lifestyle practitioner has a lot of offer people who are concerned about heart health either because of a family history of cardiovascular disease or because they are personally at risk due to poor lifestyle habits, obesity, metabolic syndrome or other risk factors. It is both comforting and reassuring to know that there is a lot you can do to minimise your risk.