Until the early eighties, people widely believed that heart disease was nearly impossible to reverse. Medical experts previously believed that the disease progressed continuously until it completely blocked the coronary arteries. However, recent studies have undeniably proven that it’s not only possible to halt artery blockage but also to reverse it. This means that, apart from angioplasty (ballooning) or bypass surgery, other measures can significantly enhance blood flow to the heart areas receiving insufficient blood due to clogged coronary arteries.
It is quite disheartening that the highly technological approach of modern medicine literally bypasses the underlying causes of heart disease. Ayurveda, on the other hand, aims to strike at the very root of the disease. A real cure for this disease is only possible if we adopt a holistic approach as the one advocated in Ayurveda and address the problem at its very root. Shunning the age-old principles of healing described in the Vedas- the great Indian heritage, as unscientific only just because they are old, is most unfortunate.
Recommendations for Strengthening Heart
Use of Amla fruit as an excellent anti-oxidant that can help to prevent arterial damage from free radicals as well as nourish the heart tissue. Amla can help boost the immune system and nourish the heart. Chywanaprash is a delicious nutritive herbal jam that contains Amla and is a real boost to the strength of the heart.
A major cause of heart problems is hardening inflammation, or congestion of the arteries which can restrict blood flow as well as putting pressure on the heart muscle and tissue. Arjuna is one of Ayurveda’s wonder herbs for strengthening the cardiac muscle, reducing arterial congestion, and lowering blood pressure.
Reduce Blood fats and high cholesterol
If you suffer from high cholesterol try Triphala Guggul which combines a range of herbs known to tackle the causative problems of high cholesterol as well as reduce high levels of blood fats.
If you suffer from excess tension try using Ashwagandha. It is a wonder herb for helping reduce tension in the body and mind as well as strengthen the heart muscle.
- Eat a nourishing diet that removes all processed foods, poor-quality dairy, poor-quality oils, and hydrogenated oils. Increase foods that are excellent for the heart. Use garlic, turmeric, ginger, and saffron. Include whole grains, pulses, and foods high in essential fatty acids such as hemp seed oil. EFAs are renowned for helping to keep arteries clean and the heart strong.
- Avoid over-eating and eating frequently. Eat a light breakfast and dinner. Lunch should be the main meal. Limit intake of milk products, fried foods, cold foods, and acidic foods. Avoid white flour products and foods containing chemical preservatives and additives. Minimize animal products, especially red meat, because they digest slowly, causing increased toxin production in the stomach.
- Seasonal fruits and fresh vegetables (steamed or cooked), Brown bread or Chapatti, salad, sprouts, vegetable soup, buttermilk, cottage cheese (paneer), a little quantity of fresh milk and ghee (clarified butter) prepared from cow’s milk, make up an ideal list of food items to choose from. Anything sweet should be taken in moderation. Honey and jaggery are healthier than purified sugar.
- Frying, preparing pulses, and using groundnut oil are prohibited. Ayurvedic physicians allow butter or ghee, and not groundnut oil. Cow’s ghee, cow’s milk, and cow’s butter are useful for the patient. Buffalo ghee and buffalo milk are not recommended. Stimulants like tea, coffee, and alcoholic drinks are very harmful to such patients.
Besides keeping up with a healthy eating pattern, we often recognize specific foods as notably beneficial for the heart. These foods are acknowledged for their heart-healthy properties. One of the most popular of these healthful foods is fatty fish with its high omega-3 fatty acid content. A recent study determined that women who consumed more omega-3 fatty acid-laden fish (two servings weekly) had a reduced rate of death due to heart disease. These researchers found that this was independent of cardiovascular risk factors or other dietary sources that may influence the development of heart disease.
Good sources of omega-3’s besides fish are flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, olive oil, sesame oil, peanut butter and oil, sunflower seeds and oil, avocado, soybean oil, and safflower oil. Additionally, flavonoids found in tea and cocoa have been recognized for their antioxidant benefit. By blocking oxidative damage to LDL cholesterol and reducing platelet clumping, flavonoids may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This underscores the recommendation for increased consumption of fiber-rich whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
Lifestyle Suggestions for Heart Diseases
Our heart needs a regular supply of oxygen and it also must not be overstressed. Practice light aerobic exercise and regular relaxation. Ayurveda would recommend some nourishing yoga practices, such as the dynamic ‘Sun Salutation’ as well as daily breathing practices (Pranayama). Ayurveda suggests exercising within your own limitations and does not encourage excessive exercise that leaves you tired. Yoga is an exercise that leaves you energized and fitter.
Mental stress commonly causes heart disease. The regular practice of yoga and Pranayama reduces stress levels. Scientific studies prove that meditation prevents and cures heart diseases. Ayurveda links the functions of the heart and mind; disturbance in one affects the other. Therefore, patients with heart disease should avoid anxiety, worry, excessive sexual intercourse, and a wrathful disposition. It’s crucial for them to have good sleep at night, and daytime rest is also essential.
It’s crucial to avoid long periods of wakefulness at night. You should aim to prevent staying awake for extended durations during the night. This helps in maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. Avoiding prolonged wakefulness at night is essential for your overall well-being. The patient’s bowels should move regularly. For constipation, the recommendation is to drink a glass of water in the early morning and take a daily walk. If necessary, use a gentle laxative such as Triphala choorna.
Panchakarma: A gentle head massage with or without oil several times a week is very beneficial. A full-body self-massage with oil once a week is also good.