To me, heart disease is the opposite end of the spectrum toward optimal health and fitness. In this series, Is heart disease the problem or the solution, we begin by looking at the functioning of our health from the level of each and every cell we’re made of. And understanding the health of the heart then becomes not only imperative for those with heart disease but for anyone with a heart!
When someone asks what does nutrition have to do with your health or your illness, your lethargy, your blood pressure, headaches, depression, heart disease, acne, cancer, autoimmune, sinus infection, infertility, osteoporosis, bladder infections, chronic muscle spasms, your anything, the most basic answer is EVERYTHING. We are made of a collection of a trillion cells, which together form tissues, grouping to form organs, the collection of which is a system, collaborating to make an organism, like us humans! So right to the level of the cell, we need to be as healthy and functioning as optimally possible. Every cell in our heart needs to be healthy and functioning. Every cell membrane in our heart is comprised of naturally (healthy) fat: no-fat, low-fat and trans-fat unsurprisingly mean we get heart disease.
Five years ago my dad had a heart attack ‘caused by a 95% blockage’. Since then a vein has started to close, a vein that feeds the bottom of his heart, so with restricted blood flow he is always tired. They are now putting in a stent to keep it open.
I remember after the first operation, the doctors told him to make sure he gets regular exercise, which makes sense for moving the muscle that is the heart. Dad jokes a lot and tells me he’s getting a daily walk to the letterbox and back, which is great. Um, until I figured that’s maybe a 250m (1/4 mile) round trip! But no wonder he’s tired when you think of having no energy at a cellular level to exercise. Having been prescribed a heart healthy low fat diet, is it any wonder he’s also feeling as tired as he is? Fat’s involvement at the level of the cell, and then between all cells, and all their minerals, nutrients and movement of these in his body, through membranes, made of fats (healthy or otherwise), his body will work out a way to survive daily in order to get to tomorrow, any way it can. Even if it means losing tone in his veins which need to stay open to prevent the back flow of blood. So ironically he needs to exercise to tone up his heart and its vessels but they’re closing at the same time, possibly increasing his blood pressure when fewer vessels have to do the job, meaning they not only get less flexible, but the heart has to work harder to pump the same amount of blood through. You have to think what’s next in his body’s survival mechanism in this way? Unless we look further down the survival scale, to the level of the cell.
What holds our veins open? Cells make up the cell membrane. What’s the cell membrane made of? Fats are the building blocks for every cell membrane in the body. Each cell is made of two layers of lipids and cholesterol. So food wise, eating healthy fats (and digesting them better) can only help the stent do its work too.
So it’s not a wonder that heart disease results from over-consumption of processed foods: we are what we eat and if that’s processed foods and their synthetic fats, then that’s what every cell membrane in our body is structured with: synthetic fat and cholesterol. And when structure doesn’t follow function, it’s no wonder we don’t function properly.
So balancing the foundations of the body balances the health of the heart. Supporting symptoms with things like a stent to keep veins open are important for survival-for-now, but looking further to causes, like fat digestion and its breakdown to essential and other fatty acids and then their utilization in membrane structure, can help us move away from disease management and instead toward health optimization, long-term-survival too.
We look into this further in the next article in this series, #2 two types of heart disease as daily survival techniques.
Why and how you can keep you heart healthy today (especially you, Dad):
- Stop eating processed foods – heart disease is a processed food disease
- Get your puff up, daily. Even the shortest, is better than none
- Eat healthy fats; fats are the preferred fuel of every cell, the preferred fuel of the heart
- Eat your proteins with the fats they come with in nature – by design each helps the other digest. It also means the quality of what you buy is paramount cos fats store toxins away from organs so eat animals without toxins, pastured organic
- Digest your fats
- Drop fresh beets daily
- Touch your toes: you might not have heart disease but if you can’t touch your toes it’s more likely you’ve inflexible blood vessels
- Balance all the foundations of the health
- Digestion and my story