How’s your heart health? Don’t answer too fast. Because an alarming new report claims it’s likely in rougher shape than you probably believe.
It’s not just you, of course. It’s practically everyone, the report says.
But don’t panic yet, my friend. This new report comes from the American Heart Association. And let’s be honest, the AHA has a bit of a legacy of introducing industry-friendly guidelines.
Those guidelines ultimately end up getting MORE people onto MORE meds. But unfortunately, that doesn’t always mean better heart health.
So today, I’m going to sort fact from fiction in this new report. Because it’s totally believable that few Americans have optimal heart health. But at the same time, improving yours isn’t always a matter of taking more meds.
And in many cases, small changes can deliver BIG heart improvements.
“New” heart health guidelines a drug push?
The new report claims just one in five Americans have optimal heart health. But if you ask me, this big announcement amounts to nothing more than a promo for the AHA’s latest marketing gimmick.
They’ve updated their heart essentials from seven to eight and rebranded it as Life’s Essential 8. The list supposedly contains the most important factors for optimal heart and brain health.
The new addition is sleep, which somehow wasn’t on the list before. And, honestly, that reveals a lot about how behind the ball this group is.
Much of the rest of the list is more common-sense concepts dressed up with cute little symbols: lose weight, eat better, move daily, don’t smoke, yada-yada-yada.
Now I’m not going to dispute the importance of any of that. The items on that list ARE all essential factors in our heart health. And I bet you already know that.
But I think we can all agree it’s not exactly worthy of a big newsflash and the launch of a publicity campaign. Although you’d think from the reaction of the media, it was groundbreaking.
I’m guessing the real drive behind this new push boils down to three factors. And those are blood…
Because all three have something in common. And that, of course, is medications.
Many seniors have higher blood pressure and higher cholesterol. That makes them prime targets for medications. Plus, if you’re among the 100 million Americans with either pre-diabetes or diabetes, you’re probably struggling with keeping your blood sugar in line, too. And that means still more meds.
But I’ve got another option that could help with all those factors.
Improve your health without MORE meds
Blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood lipids all have drug-free solutions that could help you dodge adding even more medications to your pill organizer. And all could help contribute to better heart health.
Blood lipids: The big issue with blood lipids, according to the AHA, is LDL cholesterol. Except that’s a gross oversimplification. Because the REAL problem is the small, dense, oxidized LDL particles. And cholesterol meds don’t specifically target those.
One study a couple years ago found omega-3 fatty acids can reduce those dense particles in particular. Plus, they can help improve your blood lipids (and heart health) in several other ways, too.
Blood pressure: Odds are, you know people who aren’t on just one blood pressure medication but two or even three of them. And they’re living with the head-spinning side effects, too.
Except, in many cases, high blood pressure isn’t as high as you (or your docs) might think. A lot of people suffer from false readings in the doctor’s office. It’s referred to as “White Coat Hypertension,” and it’s why taking your own BP at home can often give you a better idea of your genuine numbers.
To get a more accurate reading in the doctor’s office, check out these 6 common causes of FALSE blood pressure readings. And if you find your numbers truly high, you still may not need meds to reduce your BP and protect your heart. Natural therapies such as mineral supplements and L-carnitine can help tackle some borderline cases. So check with your doc about trying them first.
Blood sugar: If you need help managing your blood sugar, there’s a natural option that often can work as well as meds, but without the side effects. Ask your doctor about an herbal remedy called berberine.
And, of course, there’s one step that can help with all three issues at once: Eliminate as many ultra-processed foods from your diet as possible. And as you do, chances are almost ALL of your numbers will snap back into line.
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