We live in a busy world where we can send a message around the globe and have it delivered in seconds, drive up to a window and order fast food 24 hours a day, or order something online and have it delivered within the same day. Fast-paced living with an overloaded schedule can take its toll on the body over time. Stress is a big factor in cardiovascular health; it is important to take time to unplug, decompress, close your eyes and tune in to your inner landscape.
Deep breathing, meditation, qi gong, yoga, tai chi and stretching are wonderful methods of going from a busy, overcrowded mind, to a calm, centered presence. Find an approach that suits your personality and incorporate techniques for relaxation at least once per day. It may be helpful to get a boost by trying an acupuncture session. This is a simple, effective way to relieve stress, improve sleep and calm the mind. Acupuncture can also be used as an adjunctive therapy for blood pressure and other cardiovascular and respiratory issues.
KICK BACK AND PUT YOUR FEET UP
Find a comfortable place to recline with your feet elevated. This helps to assist the blood flow back to the heart in a passive way, rather than an active way, such as walking around the block. This passive position can help with swelling around the ankles and also be very relaxing and rejuvenating. Relaxation gets us from the sympathetic nervous system response into the parasympathetic nervous system response. In common terms, we go from fight or flight into rest and digest. Relaxation is the first step toward inner peace.
HEART HEALTHY EMOTIONS – AN EASTERN PERSPECTIVE
In Chinese medicine, we look at the body from a holistic perspective. Your symptoms and reasons for coming in will be looked at as a web of interconnected meaning. Your emotions are an essential aspect of your wellness and these are addressed right along side of physical symptoms.
From this Eastern view, joy is the emotion of the heart. To keep your heart happy, it is important to experience joy in your life. Find things that have meaning to you; it could be something as simple as a miniature bouquet of wild flowers from your yard, watching a funny movie or going for a walk with a long-time friend. Nourish your heart and nourish your spirit.
HEART HEALTHY EATING
Fresh vegetables, fresh fruits and unprocessed ingredients are essential components to a heart-heathy diet. Beautiful salads made from crisp, leafy greens are excellent low-calorie meals. Hemp seeds, chia seeds and ground flax seeds are great toppings for salads or entrees; these add fiber, which helps with healthy cholesterol levels. All of the cruciferous vegetables are beneficial for the heart — such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, radishes and bok choy. High sulfur foods such as onion and garlic are also great ingredients on a heart healthy diet.
If you are watching your cholesterol or trying to find alternatives to dairy products, check out this delicious and easy-to-make milk recipe. All you need is a blender!
ZERO CHOLESTEROL NUT AND SEED MILK
1 cup of a mixture of raw cashews, and raw, shelled sunflower seeds, and dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups water
Add all ingredients to your blender and liquefy for several minutes until smooth. For a sweeter variation, add 1/2 banana and blend until smooth. Add more water if you prefer a thinner milk, or less water if you prefer a thicker pudding consistency that can be scooped with a spoon. Drink immediately or store in a jar with a tightly fitting lid in the fridge for up to 2 days. This can be used over cereals or enjoyed as a snack or beverage all by itself.
Remember to be kind to yourself, take some deep breaths, relax and start your New Year with joy in your heart!
If you’d like more health tips, check out Samadhi’s book, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Healthy You.
Originally published in “A Better You” of the Orlando Sentinel newspaper September 2016. By Samadhi Artemisa, Acupuncture Physician. Reprinted with permission.
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