Your heart pumps blood to the rest of your body day in and day out. This goes on all of the time, without you having to think about a single heartbeat. It’s an amazing process! You’re probably already aware that what you eat and lifestyle choices you make can have a big impact on your heart health. In Chinese medicine, the heart and mind are said to be connected. So it makes sense to want to build a harmonious relationship between our hearts and minds to achieve better health.
Ever notice your own heart-and-mind connection based on change in your pulse under different circumstances? Maybe you feel your heartbeat quicken when you get anxious, or you notice the slow, steady beat while relaxing on the beach.
To nourish your heart, it’s best to combine a healthy diet with healthful lifestyle practices. Here are my favorite ways to support a strong and happy heart.
- Increase your intake of phytonutrient- and chlorophyll-rich foods. Spirulina is a great way to get more greens in your diet. Just add it to your favorite smoothies!
- Fill your belly with whole grains, which are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin E, niacin, and other B Vitamins. Try oats, amaranth, buckwheat or brown rice.
- Boost fiber and protein from vegetable sources with hearty lentils and mung beans.
- Eat more vegetables and fruit which are loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, water and fiber. Choose leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli), carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, radishes, apples, berries and citrus fruits.
- Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats, fiber and vitamin E. Heart-healthy nuts include hazelnuts, almonds, flaxseed, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds.
- Get active! Include daily physical activity including walking, running, swimming, biking, yoga or Pilates.
- Allow your mind to rest. Often, we race through the day, which increases stress on the heart. Try daily meditation or set aside quiet time (i.e. turn off your phone, computer and TV) and let yourself relax.
- Spend time outdoors and connect with nature. This will help you feel more grounded, having a calming effect on the body and the mind.