Volume 9, Issue 10

Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy

I hope you had a really happy Valentine's day! We've looked at different aspects of heart health in a few February newsletters. However, there are still some aspects of heart health we have not touched on before. Read on below...

These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better as it is a step toward longevity.

Ramila Padiachy

Doctor of Natural Medicine (DNM)®


A brief review of ways to keep your heart healthy

Maintain a healthy lifestyle:

  • Eat a healthy diet, eat 'real food' - avoid added sugars, other refined carbohydrates, trans fats, processed foods.  
  • Antioxidants are heart-healthy.
  • Dark chocolate is cardioprotective; note the emphasis on dark, and enjoy in moderation.
  • Be physically active.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get adequate, good quality sleep.
  • Laugh - be sure to focus on things you enjoy and laugh every day.
  • Don't smoke.
  • If you drink alcohol, be sure to drink moderately (no more than one or two drinks per day).
  • Practice gratitude - it's linked to better health, including heart health.
  • Avoid inflammation, including practicing good dental hygiene (plus a healthy diet, good stress management, physical activity and enough sleep).

Additional ways to promote heart health

In our October 2017 newsletter, we discussed stress management techniques in relation to reducing inflammation caused by mental stress. These techniques are also relevant to reducing our risk of heart disease (which can be the result of inflammation).

In addition to a healthy lifestyle, we looked at counselling, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), as an effective way to reduce stress. We also looked at relaxation techniques including:

  1. deep breathing exercises
  2. progressive muscle relaxation, often combined with deep breathing
  3. meditation - the goal is to quiet your mind; you can start by simply observing your thoughts
  4. listening to music - soothing music can decrease blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety levels

You can find more information on relaxation techniques in my book, thebellyofthebeast.ca


Mindfulness has been receiving attention recently as having an important connection to a healthy heart.

Mindfulness has been defined as the ability to attend non-judgmentally to one's own physical and mental processes; or paying attention to what you're doing in the present moment. "Dispositional mindfulness" is a person's awareness and attention to what they are thinking and feeling in the present moment.

In the New England Family Study of 382 participants, those with higher mindfulness scores had an 83% greater prevalence of good cardiovascular health. Those with lower mindfulness scores had difficulty with 4 of 7 cardiovascular indicators; namely body mass index, physical activity, fasting glucose and cigarette smoking.

What is a possible mechanism for these associations? It has been suggested that people who are more mindful have a greater awareness of their behavioural routines, and the factors driving the behaviour. Because they pay greater attention to their behaviours, they have improved abilities to initiate or prevent the particular behaviour itself.

The authors caution this is a preliminary, cross-sectional analysis, and that further longitudinal studies could evaluate whether mindfulness-based interventions consistently improve cardiovascular risk factors and outcomes.

Looking at this issue further in a review article, the authors found "promising but still inconclusive" evidence of associations of mindfulness with cardiovascular health and CVD (cardiovascular disease) risk factors, specifically smoking, blood pressure, diabetes, physical activity, obesity and diet. Customized mindfulness interventions could eventually be developed as the mechanisms affecting the results are more clearly understood. This is consistent with the findings of the New England Family Study and will be an interesting topic to follow as more research is conducted.

Pet ownership

Another way to promote heart health may be to own a pet - but I would caution you this is only a good idea if you're committed to taking care of a pet, and loving the pet you would choose. Studies suggest that owning a pet may help improve your heart and lung function, as well as lower your risk of dying from heart disease.

A recent study also suggests that owning a dog may result in less heart disease and longer life. The 12-year study followed 3.4 million Swedish adults aged 40 to 80. The researchers found that dog owners had a lower risk of death due to heart disease, and the benefit was especially evident in people who (otherwise) lived alone, compared to single people who didn't own dogs. Dogs may ease stress, loneliness and depression, and inspire people to be more active and socially connected - all factors that seem to promote heart health. However, there could be other reasons for the findings; perhaps healthier people, or those who are making the kinds of lifestyle changes that reduce heart risk, are more likely to have a dog than people in poorer health.

The American Heart Association published a scientific statement on pet ownership and cardiovascular risk, and concluded that pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, may have some causal role in reducing CVD risk. However, it cautions that pet adoption, rescue or purchase should not be done for the primary purpose of reducing CVD risk.

I hope you find these tips helpful - here's to a heart-healthy 2018!



Disclaimer: The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.


There are some Nature's Sunshine supplements that are relevant to cardiovascular health. You can find information about these products and purchase them in our online store:

  • Arginine Plus Mixed Berry
  • Blood Pressurex
  • Capsicum
  • CoQ10
  • Flax Seed Oil
  • Ginkgo & Hawthorn
  • Ginkgo Biloba Extract
  • Grapine
  • Green Tea Extract
  • Hawthorn
  • HS-C
  • I-X
  • Lecithin
  • MC
  • Oregon Grape Extract
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Red Clover
  • Super Omega 3
  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin E with Selenium
  • Zambroza
Passion Flower

“I had my first visit to a holistic clinic for a very bad sinus infection and I am so pleased I went to see Ramila. After 2 weeks of congestion, followed by 3 days of complete blockage and body aches, I was 90% better in 48 hours. My respiratory health was fully restored in just 4 days, with no recurrence of symptoms. I am amazed with the results and although maintain my health through proper nutrition and exercise, its comforting to know I can count on Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic for natural treatments. Thank you.”

-Valarie L

For additional information, please email info@ramilas.com or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter. Also, on our website, please see back issues of this newsletter, information about services, products and our clinic, and order products.

The Belly of the Beast



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