Planted in Wellness: Plants for Heart Health
Health stats first then solutions.
Alarming Heart Health Stats
Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of people in the United States?!
Let's look at some stats: In this chart, men have more rates of heart disease than women but women may die from it more than men. Heart disease is the top cause for pregnancy related deaths per studies done in California between 1996-2006 (N. Ostrow, Bloomberg, 17 Nov 2013).
As of 2017, men and women located in Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Alabama have the highest rates of heart disease in the entire nation. Why is that? Is it mainly because of lack of access to healthy foods, transportation issues, medical insurance coverage, ability to be seen in a timely manner, walk-ability in rural areas, at risk populations for said disease? For women, typically, they put off calling for themselves - because symptoms are different in women than in men.
More women than men have died from heart disease each year for the past 30 years. And women are more likely than men to die after their first heart attack. (R. Maier, Healthline, 28 Feb 2014)
Why is this? Possibly because their doctors misdiagnose them. Or, women ignore or misinterpret their heart attack signs, such as:
+ chest pain or discomfort
+ upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach shortness of breath
+ nausea, light-headedness, or cold sweats
I reside in Kern County, California and in early 2013, I published a paper (not available on my blog (I will link to it when it's published)) when finishing my Prime Time Health certification and it outlined the stats for my country with regards to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes; some of these stats are listed below.
As of 2006, one third of deaths of females in California were due to heart disease. Do you think these stats are decreasing? Perhaps. It depends largely on the demographics and healthy food resources in each area.
In Kern County as of 2019, nearly 70% of the population is dealing with weight concerns - obese or overweight which contributes to the health epidemic and increases healthcare costs. (This figure has increased nearly ten percent from 9 years ago.) When I first moved to Ridgecrest (NE corner of Kern County), I considered it to be a food desert but have always been thankful to have a smoothie & salad shop that serves some of the healthiest options in town! One of the local family-owned gyms partnered with several restaurants in town offering a lighter fare menu for clients and guests to enjoy while with out with family / friends still honoring their nutritional needs.
In the last two years, we lost our food-sharing co-op as they went out of business but we now have a weekly farmer's market and soon, the founders will be starting a food co-op!
One of the ways I do my part is by asking the grocery chains to lower their prices on organic produce ($3-4 a pound for organic apples is ridiculous!) and request that they carry certain brands. Things are changing but we have a long ways to go because the education on quality and source (reading and understanding ingredients) is few and far between but that's where a nutrition & lifestyle coach comes in. I'll help you navigate the food aisles!
The health of Kern County residents has become an alarming concern, given the following statistics (from KernPublicHealth):
1 in 4 Kern County residents die from heart disease.
That's 3 people every day.
1 person every 8 hours.
Kern Co. is ranked 54th of 58 for most heart disease deaths in CA.
Costs Kern Co. residents $400 million each year!
This is alarming! But we can do something about this by being more mindful of our choices and also by being in-tune with our body. Make a mindful shift in your thoughts when it comes to your wellness journey. Consider making baby steps for your improved health. Partner with practitioners that educate (or support your choices for) quality and source of foods consumed. Refer to this blog post for more inspiration on taking baby steps for your wellness journey!
The Power of the Plant!
Plants do more than brighten a room, they are also good for your health. They promote clean air and help fight fatigue, stress, and headaches.
If a house plant has this kind of power, imagine what phytonutrients from real food plants can do!
Give yourself a plant (and plants) for National Heart Health month!
Best House Plants for Clean Air, visit A Breath of Fresh Air (see link).
Best Plants for Clean Vessels: Choose fresh, raw, and optional: bridge the gap with the nutrition of 30.
What's all this talk about plants anyway? Everywhere you turn you hear folks touting the benefits of plants - both kinds, for your home and for your body. It's one of those topics that will never go away and the story doesn't change. It's time to embrace that plants promote healing. And if you're feeling inspired, grow a garden! You can grow a garden indoors and outside with this.
Here are the abstracts of 6 studies which demonstrated significant improvement in markers of heart health for those taking the 30 whole foods, including reduction in homocysteine, systemic inflammation and the negative effects of a high fat meal (watch the video!)
Eat the real rainbow (colorful, a variety) of fruits and vegetables every day. Go beyond peas and carrots.
I strongly feel that (real) food is the foundation to our wellness. I always look to food when I want to change how I feel - what to add in, what to reduce. And I listen to my body when I eat these foods to see if they align with my needs. I also keep a journal to record symptoms that are new or different than usual stuff. It's good to have a record if anything should happen, it'll be easier to identify some patterns. I also write goals to increase movement in my journal so that I can be proud of completing the good-for-me task!
Call to Action
What steps will you take to increase cardiovascular (heart) wellness every day after learning about the stats and steps you can do? Here are some suggestions:
Add in more movement daily. Just 10-20 minutes of intentional and purposeful movement throughout the day. (Exercise 150 minutes every week for long term mobility and strength.)
Be present in your thought process with regards to healthy lifestyle choices. What we focus on multiplies.
Make note of any unknown or unfamiliar symptoms and inform your practitioner in a timely manner.
Buy some plants to keep in your home to increase oxygen levels.
Eat more fruits and vegetables closest to their source.
Work with a nutrition coach on learning proven ways to increase your wellness through healthier lifestyle choices.
Supplement when necessary choosing products that meet your values and needs.
Choose, eat, and live well!
Choose at least 1 then share where you'll begin and when in the comments below.