February 2021: Heart Month
Written by: Dr. Fred Harvey, MDThis year is flying by! Valentine’s Day approaches already and that means February Heart Month is here. Go RED is the annual American Heart Association’s drive to help us remember that woman experience heart disease. It still beats all cancers together as the principal cause of death for one in three women. It is the same for men. We have a problem in America because our lifestyle and diet promote heart disease. Many eat too many processed foods, too few fresh green vegetables, exercise too little, work too much, have disjointed relationships, experience too much stress, are exposed to too many toxins and get too little sleep. All of these contribute to heart and vascular diseases. These things need to change to prevent dysfunctions that require medications and surgery to prop up a failing organ. We need to apply conscious effort individually to change most of detrimental lifestyle choices. It will take cultural change to fix the overwork problem.
The easiest thing to do is to drink more water. Water is a solvent and it will dissolve some of the toxins in the body and wash them away. Drink 16-32 ounces of tepid water upon arising. Next, go outside for a minute walk. If you start your day with a walk you will be invigorated such that you may not even desire coffee. When you return have seat in quiet and spend several moments in meditation to begin your day with good thoughts to set in motion a low stress day. If you have someone at home, work on a better relationship by sharing the morning meal. It is joyful for the spirit to dine together. When you go to work, your inner balance established earlier will help you to navigate a busy day with equanimity. When you get home, enjoy a meal that is mostly plant material. The Mediterranean diet is the most heart healthy, and it uses small amounts of animal protein sources with plant proteins (beans and grains) along with abundant vegetables and fruits to promote vibrant health. After dinner another walk in much healthier than being sedentary in front of a television. Lights out before 11pm promotes better melatonin production and sleep. Television and phones in the bedroom are disruptive.
Numerous supplements are available for cardiovascular health promotion. I recommend a baseline support of a multivitamin that contains methyl folate and methylB12, Vitamins C, D3, E & K2, IFOS certified fish oil, Magnesium, Coenzyme Q 10, phytochemical vascular supports like flavones diosmin and hesperidia and rutin. There are several ways to help lower LDL cholesterol and improve HDL beyond diet. These include fiber, probiotics, and niacin. Recommendations for nutritional supplementation are highly individualized based on history and laboratory analyses.
The Harvey Center is location at 3982 Bee Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL. Ph 941-929-9355. Telehealth and second opinion consultations are available upon request.
Fred Harvey, MD