For centuries, healers have recommended plant-based tonics—plants that help strengthen and support the heart—to deal with cardiac issues. Herbalists still employ them, and today there is research that backs their benefits. While these herbs are gentle in their effects, you should always discuss their use with your practitioner if you have a pre-existing condition of any kind; this is especially important if you take prescription medication.
The best-known cardiac remedy in Western herbalism, hawthorn (Crataegus) has been found to improve circulation, including blood flow within the heart itself.
Used in cuisines around the world, garlic (Allium sativum) has been linked to reductions in cholesterol and abnormal clot formation.
Ayurveda’s primary cardiac herb (Terminalia arjuna), arjuna is believed to improve the
heart’s pumping action while helping to relieve fluid buildup.
Energy Every Day
Has your get-up-and-go got up and gone? Then you may want a copy of 5-Minute Energy (Adams Media). Health coach Isadora Baum provides more than 200 quick pick-me-ups, including rubbing your temples to alleviate tension, reading a poem to stimulate your mind or taking the stairs for a burst of afternoon cardio.
If you carry joy in your heart,you can heal any moment.
Reducing Women’s Stroke Risk
Women suffer more strokes, in which circulation to the brain is disrupted, than men each year—and die of them more often.
That’s why the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has released stroke prevention guidelines specifically aimed at women. “If you are a woman, you share many of the same risk factors for stroke with men, but your risk is also influenced by hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy, childbirth and other sex-related factors,” says Cheryl Bushnell, MD, MHS, author of the new scientific statement, which was published in the AHA journal Stroke.
These guidelines include the following recommendations:
> Women with a history of hypertension before becoming pregnant should be considered for low-dose aspirin and/or calcium supplement therapy to lower their risk of developing preeclampsia, a pregnancy-related condition marked by high blood pressure and high protein levels in the urine. (Severe hypertension—160/110 mmHg or above—during pregnancy should be treated; moderate levels—150–159 mmHg/100–109 mmHg—may be considered for treatment.)
> Women who have preeclampsia have twice the risk of stroke and a fourfold risk of high blood pressure later in life. That means preeclampsia should be recognized as a risk factor well after pregnancy. Other risk factors—such as smoking, high cholesterol and obesity—in these women should be treated early.
> Women should be screened for high blood pressure before taking birth control pills because the combination raises stroke risks.
> Women who have migraine headaches with aura should stop smoking to avoid higher stroke risks. (Actually, all smokers should quit, period.)
> Women over age 75 should be screened for atrial fibrillation, a form of abnormal heartbeat, due to its link to higher stroke risk.
Recipes to Reset Your Metabolism
Ketogenic eating, which involves filling your plate with healthful sources of protein and fat while drastically cutting carb levels, has become a dietary mainstay for many. So it isn’t surprising that the field has attracted its share of self-help authors, including Mark Sisson.
Sisson first came to notice in the publishing world for the healthy lifestyle blog Mark’s Daily Apple. Then, in 2017, Harmony Books published Sisson’s The Keto Reset Diet, which reached The New York Times Best Seller list.
Sisson believes going on a ketogenic diet requires a two-step approach, in which your body first becomes “fat-adapted” by learning to use this calorie-rich fuel efficiently before you go into full-on keto eating with nutrient-dense, high-fat foods.
Now Harmony has brought out Sisson’s followup effort, The Keto Reset Diet Cookbook: 150 Low-Carb, High-Fat Ketogenic Recipes to Boost Weight Loss, co-authored with Lindsay Taylor, PhD.
The cookbook continues to put meat on the bones, so to speak, of The Keto Reset Diet. In fact, the first part provides a fast overview of Sisson’s main idea, that his 21-day “Metabolism Reset” enables the reader to “develop what I call metabolic flexibility—the ability to burn a variety of fuel sources to meet your body’s needs at any given time.” Out with the grains, sugars and refined oils; in with the naturally raised meats, cold-water fish, butter, avocado and coconut.
The book’s second part consists of recipes designed to allow such a switch without a sense of buyer’s remorse setting in. Some offer versions of fairly standard keto fare; for example, Overnight Nutty Chocolate Chia Pudding derives its flavor from cacao powder and nibs along with stevia for sweetness. Others offer imaginative responses to common carb cravings. One example is the Blueberries and Cream Eggs; it uses this fave fruit for low-carbers along with heavy cream and protein powder to provide a tasty-sounding alternative to blueberry pancakes.
Escaping the pull of carbohydrates isn’t always easy. The Keto Reset Diet Cookbook may ease that changeover.