Medically speaking, February is considered Heart Month. It’s also commonly known as the coldest month of the year for those of us in the northern hemisphere. In Chinese medicine the heart is considered the King organ and must keep balanced chi. So this February I’ve decided to heat up my heart with good intentions and more heart centered dietary and lifestyle practices. Care to join in the fun?
A Heart Healing Diet
These days I’m eating primarily vegan, meaning an extremely low cholesterol diet (as animal products are primarily the only source of dietary cholesterol). Yes folks, it’s that easy. To protect your heart simply lay off meats and incorporate more beans, lentils, salmon and mackerel for protein. Soybeans can help to lower cholesterol, so don’t be frightened to add a little GMO free organic soy into your heart healthy diet. The best nuts for your heart are almonds and walnuts. Cook with more garlic, cayenne pepper, turmeric and parsley. And last but not least, reduce your sodium intake for healthy blood pressure levels.
Heart Healthy Supplements
My February vitamin routine includes Natural Factors pharmaceutical grade fish oil. Rich in Omega 3 fats, fish oil protects the cardiovascular system by lowering cholesterol levels. Other heart healthy vitamins include CoenzymeQ10 and Vitamins C and E. The B vitamins are great for managing stress, vitamin B3 (Niacin), has been shown to raise healthy cholesterol levels improving overall ratios.
Heart Healing in Chinese Medicine
According to this ancient medical system bitter is the flavor related to the heart and many of us do not eat enough bitter foods. It’s recommended to eat more bitter melon, olives, dandelion greens, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and bok choy. Coffee, yerba mate, and dark chocolate are bitter foods that have some health benefits, but use sparingly. Bitter foods are believed to promote health by reducing body heat and drying body fluids.
Heart Healing Movement
The best exercise for self love is defiantly yoga. It relaxes body and mind and makes you aware of every muscle, organ and bone in your body. I’m practicing more back bends, heart openers and sun salutations this month! Protecting the cardiovascular system also requires heart pumping aerobic exercise. In the winter time I enjoy walking to work and often take the river route from Moncton to Dieppe. Seeing the water calms my heart, like a true Prince Edward Islander.
Heart Healing Exchange
It’s so much fun working out of a multi-practitioner clinic! Because I’m the newbie, I’ve enjoyed sampling a few services. This week I tried a sound bowel massage. Intrigued? Anya is a German trained practitioner and the entire treatment amazed me from start to finish. I spent most of the appointment lying on my stomach. She would place the vibrating bowels on various body parts, incorporating many of them at once. My entire body harmonized. I could hear the frequency differences within blocked organs and body systems. When I flipped to the front side I decided that it was time to quiet my racing mind and just simply enjoy the sound massage. I slept like a baby that night and awoke with more energy, mental clarity and less anxiety. That was defiantly heart healing!
Heart Healing Lifestyle Practices
Often it's the little things that count. Enjoy these daily heart healthy living tips.
- Wear more red and pink outfits, jewelry, shoes, nail polish, scarves and purses.
- Switch to rose scented candles, bubble bath, lotions and aromatherapy products.
- Sing out loud, straight from the heart. Whether it’s in the shower, or perhaps driving in a car.
- Buckle- Up, it will save your life and is a mini heart hug each time you drive.
- Talk more, human interaction strengthens the heart. Stop paying at the pump, speedy self-serve cash, online banking or doing the drive-thru. Aim to make others smile more often!
Heart Healing ‘Love’ Songs
And because music really speaks to my heart, this month I’ve created playlists with the word love. Here’s a preview of mine. Now time to make yours!
- Look Out for my Love - Neil Young
- Addicted to Love – Robert Palmer
- Love and Happiness – Al Green
-Love in an Elevator – Aerosmith
- Baby I Love Your Way – Peter Frampton
- Tainted Love – Soft Cell
- Or any song by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
As you can see Heart month doesn’t have to be so cold. Work at de-frosting your February heart by following any (or all!!) of my suggestions. Think with your heart more and head less. Being kind to YOU also takes pressure off the heart. So go buy that red lipstick, prepare almond crusted salmon for supper and end your evening with a rose scented bubble bath followed by heart opening yoga!