Running to Preserve the Heart of Life
Throughout ancient and modern history, the heart served as a symbol of life, love and healing. We keep this tradition alive every February 14th by the giving of Valentines and other heart shaped gifts and treats. In just this past century, the heart is now our most afflicted vital organ. Heart Disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and developing countries. With the rise in obesity and the sedentary lifestyle, the heart is becoming closely linked to death and disease. Fortunately, your ChiRunning or ChiWalking practice is helping you to become intimately connected with the life giving properties of your heart. Cardiovascular activity is the number one way to help prevent obesity, hypertension and high blood pressure; all are major risk factors for the heart. Cardiovascular activity also aids in maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol.
The release of stress through your practice of the ChiRunning technique and ChiWalking technique also contributes greatly to blood flow distribution and prevents the build up of plaque within your arteries. Proper steps toward improving your daily nourishment are imperative to supporting this positive momentum. Below are some healthy tips that are sure to keep your heart pumping life and love throughout your body.
Healthy Fats – People who are overweight or eat diets high in saturated fat put themselves at a greater risk for heart disease. However, numerous studies show that a decrease in unhealthy fats such as saturated fats and trans fats coupled with a rise in healthy fats such as poly and mono-unsaturated fats as well essential fatty acids is the number one way to support the cardiovascular system.
Use the following oils in your cooking and meal preparation:
- olive oil
- canola oil
- grape seed oil
- flaxseed oil (best for salad dressings)
To increase the number of Omega 3-6 essential fatty acids in your diet, eat more of these foods:
- almonds, peanuts, walnuts and cashews
- fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna)
- whole grains (such as brown rice)
- Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption – A large amount of the saturated fat in the American diet comes from animal products. Many of our most popular meals contain red meat, butter and/or cheese. All of these foods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. As developing nations follow in the footsteps of America and consume more and more animal based foods, obesity and heart disease rates are skyrocketing to pandemic proportions. Societies that maintain plant based diets are immune to these increases. Cholesterol is only found in animal based food, so limiting its consumption can decrease the amount of LDL (or “bad cholesterol”) in your bloodstream. Choose fruit rather than cookies for daily snacks and make sure a larger fraction of your dinner plate is filled with vegetables and whole grains.
Large Midday Meals – In societies where rates of heart disease remain low, it is often found that they eat their largest meal of the day around noon. The ancient medical practice of Ayurveda suggests that the body is best suited for digestion at this time. Studies done by Dr. John Douillard (and repeated by many others) have shown that eating the largest meal midday greatly reduced participants’ blood pressure and cholesterol while also leading to increased weight-loss. These results were further accelerated when the participants ate warm meals rather than cold meals, which can be hard to digest. Many modern lunches are eaten on the run. Organize your day so you can eat a well rounded, healthy lunch in a relaxed manner.
This Valentine’s Day, share a healthy heart with your loved ones and you will be blessed with many years of happiness with them.