Thanks to modern medicine, the human race lives longer than ever. We’ve got the quantity of years down. Now, it’s time to bulk up on the quality. Quality of life is dependent on the health of vital organs. You can’t get much more essential than the heart and brain. With heart disease the number one cause of death and almost six million people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, protecting the heart and mind is pivotal to a fulfilling life. Let’s take a look at five ways to naturally boost your mental and cardiovascular health.
1. Exercise Regularly
We tend to take our bodies for granted. While resting seems like self-care, you’re actually doing a disservice to your brain and heart if you remain sedentary most of the day. While you may find exercise to be slow torture, your body looks at it as stimulation. Exercise is Netflix for the brain and heart. While actually watching Netflix is quite dull for them.
Let’s start with the obvious. Exercising regularly is essential for heart health. They don’t call hopping on the treadmill cardio for nothing! The Mayo Clinic suggests getting 150 minutes of low-key cardio each week. Short on time? Then up the intensity. According to the Mayo Clinic, 75 minutes per week of vigorous workouts can improve your heart health.
What’s good for the heart is also good for the mind. Research indicates that exercise actually strengthens the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex. In fact, Neurologist Dr. Scott McGinnis estimates six months of anaerobic exercise can repair some damage to areas of the brain, improving overall cognitive function.
Studies also suggest that exercise helps release endorphins into the system. This action naturally decreases levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the system. With less cortisol pumping through your bloodstream, your mind and heart are less susceptible to inflammation.
2. Get Your Sleep On
Sleep is crucial. Not only do we need it so we can function at work the next day, but our bodies needs sleep so it can restore itself. Going to sleep is like when kids go to daycare. The parent (body) gets quiet time so that the real work can get done.
Research suggests that sleep disorders increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. One study looking at sleep apnea and fatal disorders found, “Obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of heart failure by 140%, the risk of stroke by 60%, and the risk of coronary heart disease by 30%.”
Sleep is also essential for brain power. Not only will getting a good night’s rest keep us from feeling foggy, but it will decrease stress as well. To sleep, our bodies need to produce the hormone, melatonin. Unfortunately, our stress hormone, cortisol, deplete melatonin production.
There is only so much room in the system for the hormones we create. Therefore, one needs to win the battle over the other. When stress becomes chronic, insomnia isn’t far behind. Over time, this chronic stress can impede your everyday life. Eventually, these cases may even spark a mental illness.
Give your brain some peace of mind. The best way to achieve this is by using all-natural supplements like Sleep-Fast. Sleep-Fast is non-habit-forming. It is formulated using melatonin, the exact hormone we lack thanks to stress. In addition, the formula has a number of other active ingredients directly sourced from the earth. By using Sleep-Fast, you can get a good night’s rest and take the extra stress off your heart and brain.
3. Fix Your Gut Health
We learned that the wrist bone is connected to the hand bone in the anatomy song. However, it’s the gut that connects everything else in the body. As the famous Greek physician Hippocrates famously stated, “All disease begins in the gut.” You can throw brain and heart disease onto that list.
Our bodies are intricately designed to take care of themselves. However, we are constantly throwing wrenches into our bodies’ plans. These wrenches come in the form of poor food choices, germs from coworkers, and everyday stress. As a result, the bacteria in our guts go from healthy flora to opportunistic pathogens. Harmful bacteria leaves your whole system susceptible to diseases that may negatively affect your heart and brain.
Research indicates that there is a complex communication pathway known as the gut-brain-axis. This internal network is regulated by a series of nerves known as the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve descends from the bottom of the brain stem and down into the microbiome. Along the way, various nerves in this network touch all the vital organs, including the heart.
The vagus nerve has fibers with tiny neural tissues. These tissues assess the system. Based on their interaction with various bacteria, inflammation, and yeasts, the nerves will send impulses back up to the brain. The impulses are also felt by organs attached to the nerve, including the brain.
If the vagus nerve sends negative pulses due to poor gut health, issues may manifest in a number of ways. Some of the most common include mood swings and depression. However, research also shows that a lack of probiotic bacteria in the system can also compromise your heart health.
4. Up Your Nitric Oxide
A substantial reason we experience poor gut health in the first place is due to our dietary choices. A lifetime of processed foods, refined sugars, and saturated fats leaves the stomach clogged up. While your body remains perplexed trying to break down artificial sweeteners, GMOs, and an abundance of animal fats, sugars, and carbs thicken. They create a plaque in your arteries which can lead to a condition known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the top cause of cardiovascular disease.
What makes atherosclerosis so dangerous for cardio and brain health is that it creates a blockade for oxygenated red blood cells. Therefore, your heart isn’t receiving all the blood it pumps out back. As a result, the vital organ doesn’t get the workout it needs, leading to atrophy.
If oxygenated blood cells aren’t making it back to the heart, there is no way they will make the journey all the way up to the brain! That is why you need to up your nitric oxide production.
Nitric oxide is a gaseous byproduct our cells create. It is beneficial in clearing out the arteries of gunk that may cause heart or brain disease.
Some of the best food sources of nitric oxide include:
- Dark chocolate
- Leafy greens
- Citrus fruits
- Nuts and seeds
- Red wine
We need nitric oxide because it acts as a vasodilator. It relaxes red blood cells so they can make it through the clogged arteries. By upping nitric oxide intake in your diet, you’re setting your heart and mind up for success.
5. Balance Your Omega Ratio
As you’ve probably gathered, diet plays a significant role in how we feel. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is dense in animal fats. While they provide ample protein and nutrients, animal fats are harder for our body to break down. With SAD being very meat-and-potato heavy, the average Westerner fills up on these foods and never gets to digest them fully. Not only is this dangerous for developing atherosclerosis, but it can also pose problems for cholesterol and inflammation.
Animal fats are high in omega-6 fatty acids. While omega-6s are essential for our bodies, we don’t need as many as we generally get. In fact, we should be consuming less omega-6s and more omega-3 fatty acids.
Our ancestors used to follow an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 4:1. Present day humans have quadrupled that statistic, averaging a 16:1 ratio. This shift is alarming because studies suggest that elevated levels of omega-6s can lead to brain disease and cardiovascular problems.
To help sway the balance, consume less red meat. Opt for leaner proteins such as organic poultry. Also, be sure to consume more wild-caught fish and plant-based proteins. However, you can really make a difference in your mental and cardio well-being by supplementing with Olive leaf extract.
Olive leaf extract (OLE) is rich in oleuropein. Oleuropein is a polyphenol that has a profound impact on the body. One study found that “daytime and 24-hour systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were all significantly lower following OLE intake, relative to the control. Reductions in plasma total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides were also induced by OLE compared to control, whilst a reduction in interleukin-8 was also detected.”
Olive leaf extract with oleuropein also boosts your brain health. Its anti-inflammatory capabilities go a long way in repairing brain damage associated with dementia. Research suggests this compound helps repair proteins hurt by aging. As a result, supplementing with olive leaf extract with oleuropein may prolong the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
How to Improve Cardio and Mental Health Naturally
There are so many small changes we can make to our everyday regimen that will add longevity to our lives. It’s just a matter of turning these tweaks into full-blown habits. Start exercising regularly and get plenty of sleep. Fix your gut health and change up your diet by eating nitric oxide-rich foods. Lastly, find your omega balance. Supplement with olive leaf extract and feel the heart and brain-boosting benefits.
Are you heart- and mind-conscious? What are some ways you boost your overall cardio and mental wellness? Share your success stories in the comments below!