With Valentine’s Day this month, a happy heart can mean several different things. We talk of “matters of the heart” when what we really mean are “matters of the brain,” our psychological and emotional selves. But there is another form of a happy heart, which is our heart muscle in need of just as much care as our emotional health. All of us strive for good health, including a healthy cardiovascular system. Without this, we put ourselves at great risk.

So how do we achieve a healthy heart and cardiovascular system? According to an article published by the Heart Foundation, there are five things that greatly impact our hearts:

  1. What we eat.
  2. How much we move.
  3. Smoking versus not smoking.
  4. Controlling cholesterol.
  5. Controlling blood pressure.

Chiropractic care has also been linked to good heart health. The Joint Chiropractic shares an article on “How your Heart can Benefit from Regular Chiropractic Treatments” on their website. The article states that scientific research has shown that proper chiropractic care may successfully support the cardiovascular system by relieving chest pain, lowering blood pressure and reducing heart rate. The adjustment of the first vertebra, also known as the atlas, can have a significant effect on the heart.

“Getting your atlas adjusted is important, because it is the most important vertebra of the spine and holds up your skull. Aligning the atlas properly by adjusting and removing the subluxation from that area and everything else will fall in line,” said Dr. Patrick Greco, Life U Alumnus and Regional Developer at The Joint Chiropractic in Atlanta, Georgia. “Removing subluxation and having a healthy spine helps to eliminate stressors on the body, both physically and mentally. Less stressors on the body lessens the stressors on the heart and the cardiovascular system.”

Knowing what leads to a healthy heart is simple enough to understand, but many of us struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways to help make that path to a healthier heart a bit more manageable. First, our pattern of eating is important. We need to focus on what we are eating over a matter of time. Our focus should be on consistency and understanding our patterns over time. These patterns should be viewed over days, weeks and even months to understand our eating habits.

Our style of eating should be low in saturated and trans fats, salt and sugar. Instead, we should be eating more whole grains, fiber and antioxidants. Translation, eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables. When we switch to whole grains, we consume more nutrients, which include dietary fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E and healthy fats. The best fats to eat are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (omega 3 and omega 6). Avocados, nuts, sunflower seeds and fish provide these healthy fats. Giving up the saltshaker and replacing it with herbs and spices is also vital in taking care of our cardiovascular system.

Regular exercise offers several benefits to our hearts, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing the risk of a heart attack and risk of developing heart disease. It also strengthens our bones and muscles and can give us more energy and even relaxation.

Here are some easy-to-follow steps to create a great path to a healthy heart from the John Hopkins Medicine website:

  • Snack on nuts. They supply us with healthy unsaturated fats, and five ounces per week is linked to a reduction in cardiovascular disease.
  • Add some sort of activity to our weekly schedules. The recommended amount of exercise is at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. However, we can also benefit from shorter amounts of exercise, 10-15 minutes at a time, with the goal being 150 minutes per week.
  • Get a good night’s rest, because a lack of sleep increases the risk for a heart attack.

Caring for our heart health give us so many benefits, so we hope you take some of these healthy habits to heart.