Love songs come from it. Shakespeare wrote endlessly about it. It breaks. It bursts with joy.  It’s what dreams are made of.

February is heart health month. In honour of this significant organ and system, here is my ode to the heart.

Function

The cardiovascular system circulates blood, amino acids, electrolytes, oxygen, and  hormones to our cells, nourishing us and helping us maintain homeostasis.

The Traditional Chinese medicine perspective acknowledges the heart as the mental/emotional center of the body. It not only regulates circulation, but also controls consciousness, spirit, sleep, memory, and mental acuity.

Health Promotion

Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of chronic disease and death today. The western causes have become common place; genetics, smoking, alcohol, poor dietary choices, stress, and a sedentary life. More recently, it is acknowledged that heavy metal toxicity from mercury and cadmium can be culprits of CVD.

The Mediterranean diet has been touted time and again as the best preventative diet for prevention of long term disease, including CVD. Simple exercise, like walking daily, is enough to maintain weight, manage stress, ideally outside in the sunshine and fresh air.

Managing stress is of utmost priority. Meditation has been shown to decrease high blood pressure, improve sleep, and lower perceived stress. Meditation also has a way of encouraging us to live a more authentic life over time, living from one’s heart center.

A simple diet also promotes deep and peaceful thinking. Too many ingredients in meals, very spicy or rich foods, refined sugar, alcohol, coffee, late-night eating, and large evening meals can cause insomnia and mental chatter through the day.

Maintaining healthy detoxification pathways is another efficient strategy. Unfortunately, our food has become less nutritious through the practices of processing and farming, and we may need to rely more on supplementation, like magnesium, clean fish oils, and green super food extracts. Deep breathing impacts our digestive power to absorb, along with detoxification and is foundational to our well-being.

“When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object. The dictatorship of the heart reigns supreme” Kundera