How To Have A Healthy Heart

December 1, 2009 by  
Filed under featured, Health


Apart from the usual suspects of diet and exercise, there is now new scientific evidence for a very old, natural, practice. Heart rate variability, which is a sign of a healthy heart, has been shown to be higher in those who regularly practice yoga.

The autonomic nervous system regulates the heart rate through two routes, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The former causes the heart rate to rise, while, the parasympathetic slows it so that when working well together, the two ensure that the heart rate is steady but ready to respond to demands such as when we eat, our fight or flight response, or arousal.

The research was carried out at the Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee, in Uttrakhand, and although there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that yoga practice may improve health through breathing exercises, stretching, postures, relaxation, and meditation this is the first time its effect on the heart has put through a scientific trial.

The volunteers were all healthy men aged between 18 and 48, half of whom practiced yoga regularly and the others not at all. They were given electrocardiograms (ECG) and found that the regular practitioners had stronger and better control of their parasympathetic system which gave them more autonomic control over their heart rate and so a healthier heart.

Go find a local yoga class, or use one of the excellent DVD’s on the subject. For beginners I would suggest Barbara Curries Seven Secrets of Yoga for a quick and simple workout as I have been using it for years, and it is available on Amazon second hand for an amazing 1p at the moment!

Health Bite:

Another great ingredient you need for a healthy heart is vitamin D, and low levels may also increase the risk of atherosclerosis.

It seems that most people suffering from heart disease are chronically deficient in vitamin D and you can easily rectify that by getting some sunshine every day – not always easy in our climate – or by taking a vitamin D3 supplement.

Nutritionists recommend a supplement for those deficient of around 1,000 – 4000 IUs per day, but not when you are getting plenty of sunshine.

Vitamin D is also known to be a preventive agent for around 77% of all cancers so you get a double health bonus. Now, about booking that sunshine cruise