Cardiovascular diseases kill more Americans than cancer and motor vehicle accidents combined. Most of our aging baby-boomer population will be brought down by problems located in the heart and cardiovascular system. Even so, we can significantly increase heart longevity in the highest percentage of cases by applying two simple and fundamental practices that will preserve the heart.
1. Rest Your Heart
Early medical practitioners presumed that every human heart came pre-programmed for a certain number of beats. More recent scientific research shows that a human heart will beat approximately 2 billion times and then its work is done. Based on this understanding, ancient yogis and qi gong masters demonstrated extended life spans via one essential practice–they slowed their heart rate thus getting more years for those beats.
The principle is a simple one. If we reduce the mileage on our cars, they stay shiny and they last longer. If we learn to slow and rest our heart rate, the organ stays healthier for a longer stretch of time. We will get more years for those two billion beats.
Pure Food and Right Exercise
A pure diet reduces wear and tear on the heart. Lower levels of blood toxicity means slower heart rates. The more toxins in the blood, the harder the cardiovascular system and respiratory system have to work in order to purify those toxins. Right exercise elevates heart rate initially but slows it down in the long run. Athletes demonstrate some of the best standing heart rates. It is important not to over exercise, however, because that can damage the heart through over-exertion– too many beats.
Pacing is Critical
If we burn too hot and push too hard, then we use up our inheritance quickly. If we balance the pace of our life however, resting often, sleeping well, building in periods of deep relaxation and meditation, then we extend our heart time.
Take a Nap Every Day
A study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston with more than 23,000 Greek adults found that those who regularly took a midday siesta were more than 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease. So lie down after lunch, let the body rest and the heart rate slow. Do it for 30 minutes or so everyday.
2. Feed the Heart its Natural Elixir
Human beings have always been looking for the perfect regenerative tonic. The Tao of Rejuvenation details that search and identifies some of the great elixirs that have been used to restore health and extend life. The key understanding here is that the long sought elixir of the ancients is actually produced by the body itself.
Research scientists at the University of Texas, under the direction of Dr. Nathan Bryan have pointed to nitric oxide as the essential regenerative substance produced by the body to rejuvenate itself. Their research demonstrates that nitric oxide deficiency is a culprit in all kinds of degenerative imbalances, such as bone loss, diabetes and cancer.
Nitric Oxide (NO) is a fundamental chemical messenger manufactured by the body within the circulatory system. NO production relaxes and expands the blood pathways increasing blood flow to all the organs and cells, and refreshing the health and strength of the cardiovascular tissue. By the age of forty, nitric oxide production begins to decline in everyone, universally. It is the absence of NO that accounts for the fact that a person in their fifties and sixties has about half the circulatory capacity that they had in their twenties. The cardiovascular system, however, never loses its ability to relax and open and the body never loses its ability to produce NO, if we do the right things. The potential impact of this finding on our health and well-being is profound.
Modern research confirms traditional approaches to heart rejuvenation by testing specific foods and herbs. As it turns out, many of the foods and herbs that have been traditionally used for cardiovascular healing are highly effective nitric oxide precursors.
NO Producing Foods
Kale, Swiss Chard, Arugula, Spinach and Beets top the list. Those wonderful cancer protecting cruciferous vegetables – cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli are also strong NO precursors. Eat liberally from these foods.
Feel free to have some dark chocolate after your veggies. The news on dark chocolate just keeps getting better. Cocoa increases NO production in the body. Recent research demonstrates that regular eaters of dark chocolate have significantly less heart disease. One should choose low glycemic dark chocolate rather than the overly sweetened kind, however, in order to protect the pancreas.
NO Producing Herbs
Many of the medicinal herbs used for centuries to heal and rejuvenate the cardiovascular system, proved to be powerful NO precursors. Hawthorn, Chinese Salvia, Peony Rubra, Fructus Trichosanthus, Prunella vulgaris and Chinese Ginseng all tested well as producers of nitric oxide.
At Traditional Botanical Medicine we combine these and other key herbs into two powerful nitric oxide rich formulas – Heart Protector and Cultivation. One formula targets the heart and the other targets circulation itself. Combining the right doses of medicinal herbs with these powerful vegetables – in a smoothie for example, is a simple and effective practice for rejuvenating the body. When we add in a daily nap, right exercise and meditation, we are in fact, counteracting the aging process at its root in the cardiovascular system.