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Heart Health

It’s never too late to start looking after your heart.

Reduce Your Blood Pressure - Heart HealthCardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death in Australia.  But it’s nearly always completely preventable. I want to help you to keep your heart as healthy as possible.

How can you look after your heart?

Reduce your blood pressure

High blood pressure causes your heart to work harder than usual. This increases risk of several serious health problems including heart attack and stroke.

Manage your cholesterol

High levels of cholesterol can lead to fatty plaque deposits building up and narrowing of your arteries.  This may increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and other chronic diseases.

Eat well

Getting your diet right is essential. Eat whole, fresh, unrefined, and unprocessed foods. Increasing the amount of vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants, and eating the right fats will support your arteries, veins and capillaries,  help with weight loss, and lower your blood pressure.

A low Salt and high Vegetable diet

Sodium (salt) retention causes fluid retention and high blood pressure.Reducing sodium intake can help reduce blood pressure. This appears to work better if potassium intake is also increased.  All vegetables are good sources of Potassium.  If taking potassium sparing blood pressure medication, you may be advised to limit potassium in supplements but not in foods. 

Choose Good Fats

Eating foods that are high in saturated and trans fats can raise cholesterol levels and cholesterol oxidation.

  • Avoid or reduce foods such as meat pies, pastries, sausages and fatty cuts of meat, lard, cream, cakes and biscuits, potato chips.
  • Replace with foods that are high in unsaturated fats, such as nuts and seeds, olive oil, flaxseed oil, rice bran oil.
  • Include foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. Omega 3 fatty acids in particular are noted for their triglyceride-lowering power. Include oily fish (e.g. salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines) in your diet 2-3 times a week to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Increase your fibre

Brunswick Naturopathy Heart HealthFibre helps to keep blood pressure low and control blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It will also help with weight loss. Increase your intake of fibre rich foods or use a fibre supplement. We should consume about 28- 38g fibre daily. Good sources of soluble fibre include: oats, beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. Aim to eat at least five – seven portions of fruit and vegetables each day and a handful of unsalted raw or dry-roasted nuts and seeds.

Avoid high sugar foods

Reduce refined carbohydrates (sugar, cakes, biscuits, bread, pasta etc.). These are broken down into glucose/sugar in your body. Avoid sweetened drinks (soft drinks, juices, including homemade juices). Sugar triggers insulin release, and insulin is the major hormone that directs an overproduction of cholesterol in your body. It is bad for your waistline and your heart.  Limit excessive intake of alcohol.

Cook with ginger, garlic and onions

They are good for your liver and help to reduce cholesterol. Garlic and ginger reduce the tendency of blood to clot. Garlic improves blood flow throughout the body, not just in the coronary arteries. It acts as a vasodilator by causing blood vessels to expand and blood pressure to drop.

Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels

The further you live from the equator, the higher your risk of developing high blood pressure. Lack of sunlight reduces your vitamin D stores and increases parathyroid hormone production, which increases blood pressure. Sun exposure is thought to cause the release of endorphins that produce feelings of euphoria and pain relief. They naturally relieve stress, which is important for reducing hypertension.

Control your stress levels

The connection between stress and hypertension is undeniable. Stress is a major cause of hypertension. Strategies such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, massage, a relaxing bath, counselling, going out with friends etc. will help you to stay happy and positive and reduce blood pressure.  Make sure that you are getting adequate rest and sleep.

Reduce or eliminate caffeine

If you have hypertension, coffee and other caffeinated drinks can exacerbate your condition. If you want to eliminate caffeine from your diet, try to do it gradually over a period of days or even weeks in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms like headaches.

Weight management

When you consume excess calories, regardless of where they come from (carbohydrates, fats or protein), they will be transformed into triglycerides and stored as body fat.  Obesity, high cholesterol and hypertension are strongly linked. If weight management is a concern I can help you with that.


Physical activity is by far one of the most important ways to reduce high blood pressure long-term and help with weight loss.  Start with gentle exercise, and then include a variety of graded aerobic exercise that uses large muscle groups for 20-30 minutes at least 3-4 times a week. The Heart Foundation recommends you do 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise on most days. Activities can range from walking, swimming or cycling, to more vigorous exercise such as running and dancing.

Dietary Supplements & Herbal Medicine

Specific herbal and nutritional support can help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, support your circulation, capillaries, veins and arteries, reduce inflammation, improve your energy, and relax your nervous system. This will depend on your individual needs.

A supplement or a recommended dose may not be appropriate for all people, and for this reason it is best to seek the advice before using any product.  Some herbs or supplements can have serious side effects if taken inappropriately, or with other mediations.  It is recommended that they only be used under supervision of a qualified naturopath or herbalist.  This way they can be prescribed for your specific symptoms and needs.

If you are ready to take control of your own health, call me at Brunswick Naturopathy (0403755584) or book an online appointment.