A content heart is one that you take care of on all levels. You recognize and deal with your emotions in a constructive way. You engage in physical activity to get your heart pumping so often that it’s a common occurrence. And last but absolutely not least, you give it all of the nutrients it needs to withstand the physical activity and the emotions in your life.
Since we’ve already covered the emotions and the activity in recent blog posts (see links above), today we’ll shine a light on the nutrients that are essential for a content heart. It isn’t as simple as popping some pills and calling it a day. After all, there are significant differences between vitamins created in a lab and vitamins you find in nature.
Browsing through the SRP Historical Archives, I discovered a fascinating 1953 lecture by Richard L. Chipman, MD, titled “Nutrition and Vitamins in Relation to the Heart.” Chipman discusses how natural vitamins have a very different effect on your heart health versus their synthetic counterparts. For example, he points to studies where lab-created vitamins show no influence on people with heart disease, but the natural versions often save lives. Today’s research continually backs up his findings.
Chipman goes on to explain that a single vitamin separated from the entire vitamin complex intended by nature simply isn’t capable of providing the same benefits. As he puts it, “The natural complex carries trace-mineral activators, without which the enzyme fails as a catalyst.” When the natural complex is taken apart, it has to be put back together again in order to do its job.
We attribute certain foods as being key to the health of certain body parts. Carrots for the eyes, fermented foods for the gut, and so on. What basic foods does your heart crave to function at its best?
A low-carb diet is crucial to heart health, according to Benjamin P. Sandler’s book How to Prevent Heart Attacks. Of the three main building blocks our foods offer—protein, carbohydrates, and fats—Sandler makes the following recommendations:
Protein is fundamental. Or, as Sandler states, “Life without protein is impossible.” Protein promotes growth and healing, plays a role in the immune system by fighting off infections, and aids in the production of hormones and enzymes.
Animal proteins (or what Sandler refers to as “high biological value proteins”) come closest to resembling the chemical makeup of the proteins found in human tissues. Therefore, animal protein is more beneficial to the body than protein from plants. (My own addition here would be to choose grass-fed animal proteins because of their increased nutritional profile.)
Carbohydrates must be divided into groups. Some carbs contain sugar, some contain starch, and some contain neither. Your focus should be on the non-sugar, non-starch varieties. They don’t disturb your blood sugar levels, which is critical for your health. Get your carbs from asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, dark greens, and celery.
Fats don’t need to be restricted. Yes, you read that correctly. Healthy fats don’t affect your blood sugar levels. They “may be eaten, therefore, in any quantity according to individual taste and tolerance.” Sandler continues his lecture with wisdom that has been lost for many years: “In humans, fats are less responsible for obesity than sugar and starch.” So get to know the differences between the various fats out there, and don’t shy away from the healthy ones.
It’s all about finding that balance and fine-tuning what your heart is hungry for at any given moment. Finding a holistic health care provider in your area can help you determine if your diet alone is providing your heart with everything it needs or if supplementation would be beneficial. Standard Process practioners are well-versed in the whole food supplements from SP and will make sure you’re taking the lifesaving natural varieties.
Are you eating to your heart’s content? It’s (almost) never too late to start.
cardiovascular health | whole food nutrition