Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Planted in Wellness: Plants for Heart Health

iConveyAwareness | Planted in Wellness: Plants for Heart Health (cover)

Alarming Heart Health Stats

Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States?!

Let's look at some stats: In this chart, men still have more rates of heart disease than women but women may die from it more than men. Heart disease is the top cause for pregnancy related deaths per studies done in California between 1996-2006 (N. Ostrow, Bloomberg, 17 Nov 2013). 

As of 2010, men and women located in Mississippi have the highest rates of heart disease in the entire nation. Why is that? It is mainly because of the consumption of primarily high (bad) saturated fatty foods. Maybe these other reasons answer that question too ... women put off calling for themselves - because symptoms are different in women than in men. 
More women than men have died from heart disease each year for the past 30 years. And women are more likely than men to die after their first heart attack. (R. Maier, Healthline, 28 Feb 2014)
Why is this? Possibly because their doctors misdiagnose them. Or, women ignore or misinterpret their heart attack signs, such as:
+ chest pain or discomfort
+ upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach shortness of breath
+ nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats
I reside in California and I remembered that I published a paper (not available on my blog (yet)) when finishing my Prime Time Health certification in early 2013 and it outlined the stats for Kern County, CA, with regards to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes; some of these states are listed below. 

As of 2006, one third of deaths of females in California were due to heart disease. Do you think these stats are decreasing? Perhaps. It depends largely on the demographics and healthy food resources in each area. 

I know in Kern County as of 2012, almost 60% of the population is dealing with heart disease, diabetes, and/or obesity! There are very few healthy food resources. I consider Ridgecrest a food desert. There are plenty of fast food places and no farmer's markets (we do have Tomato Man but even he said recently (Jan 2015) that he makes more money driving to Pasadena then he does driving down the street (in Ridgecrest) to sell his produce). I do my part by asking the grocery chains to lower their prices on organic produce ($2.99-3.99 a pound for organic apples is ridiculous!) and request that they carry certain brands. I believe things are changing but we have a long ways to go because the education on quality and source (reading and understanding ingredients) is few and far between. 

The health of Kern County residents has become an alarming concern, given the following statistics: 
+ Out of California’s 58 counties, Kern County ranks 58 in incidence of heart disease
+ Out of California’s 58 counties, Kern County ranks 57 in incidence of diabetes
+ More than 60% of Kern County’s population is considered obese
Kern County’s tobacco-use rate, obesity rate, and the number of individuals who are physically inactive are considerably higher than state and national averages (CDC, Kern County Healthy Worksite Initiative).
Kern County is the least healthy in California, and ranks near the bottom in 6 of 8 health indicators out of California’s 58 counties in health factors.
This is alarming! But we can do something about this by being more mindful of our choices and also by being in-tune with our body. Make a mindful shift in your thoughts when it comes to your wellness journey. Consider making baby steps for your improved health. Partner with practitioners that educate (or support your choices for) quality and source of foods consumed. 

Call to Action

I'd love to propose to my county a solution! I teach a healthy aging class at the local parks and rec department that due in part to lack of marketing manpower the classes are being cancelled. I would like to reach the people who have a commitment to making small changes that offer real solutions and I would like to expand my reach beyond Ridgecrest. The series is affordable and provides some hands-on tools and resources that can change the destiny of our residents! We can change these heart disease, diabetes, and obesity stats when you partner with me (or similar professionals who advocate / educate quality and source), your health practitioner(s), and the county/state! If you know who I can talk to offer these workshops as part of a healthy workplace initiative, leave a comment with their contact information. I will be sure to let them know you referred me (if you'd like me to). 

The Power of the Plant!

Plants do more than brighten a room, they are also good for your health. They promote clean air and help fight fatigue, stress, and headaches. 

If a house plant has this kind of power, imagine what phytonutrients from real food plants can do!  

Give yourself a plant (and plants) for National Heart Health month!

Best House Plants for Clean Air, visit A Breath of Fresh Air
Best Plants for Clean Vessels: Choose fresh, raw, and bridge the gap with 30 whole foods

What's all this talk about plants anyway? Everywhere you turn you hear folks touting the benefits of plants - both kinds, for your home and for your body. It's one of those topics that will never go away and the story doesn't change. It's time to embrace that plants promote healing. And if you're feeling inspired, grow a garden! You can grow a garden indoors and outside with this

Here are the abstracts of 6 studies which demonstrated significant improvement in markers of heart health for those taking the 30 whole foods, including reduction in homocysteine, systemic inflammation and the negative effects of a high fat meal (watch the video!)

Eat the real rainbow (colorful, a variety) of fruits and vegetables every day. Go beyond peas and carrots. Take it from America's favorite pediatrician, Dr. Bill Sears, where he talks the ABCs of nutrition for a healthy heart. 

I strongly feel that (real) food is the foundation to our wellness. I always look to food when I want to change how I feel - what to add in, what to reduce. And I listen to my body when I eat these foods to see if they align with my needs. I also keep a journal to record symptoms that are new or different than usual stuff. It's good to have a record if anything should happen, it'll be easier to identify some patterns. I also write goals to increase movement in my journal so that I can be proud of completing the good-for-me task!

iConveyAwareness | Planted in Wellness | Give Yourself a Plant (and Plants) for National Heart Health Month

What steps will you take to increase cardiovascular wellness every day following this moment right now?

1). Add in more movement daily.
2). Be present in your thought process with regards to healthy lifestyle choices.
3). Make note of any unknown or unfamiliar symptoms and inform your practitioner.
4). Buy some plants to keep in your home to increase oxygen levels.
5). Eat more fruits and vegetables closest to their source. 
6). Bridge the gap with the phytonutrients of 30 whole foods
7). Register for (or request) a Prime Time Health workshop series. 

I do receive a small commission from my affiliates if you purchase anything through their sites using one of the links above (read my full advertising disclosure here). 

Thank you very much for your generosity in helping to offset the costs of website upkeep, so that I can keep sharing wellness resources with my community and beyond.

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Choose, eat, and live well! =)

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  1. I love the tips that you shared. Such important info!

  2. Great tips! I honestly had never connected having physical plants to cardiac health, but it Totally makes sense :)

  3. Some plant maybe work, I try to make little garden by planting fruits on a pot and is really work.

  4. Great tips. I especially love #3 towards the bottom of the post! So important to mention anything new/strange when it comes to your health. I mentioned symptoms to three different doctors and still no one caught the kidney stone thing till it became obvious. I think people are afraid of sounding like a hypochondriac or finding out something is REALLY wrong.

  5. Great tips, Jessica. Thanks for sharing them at Savoring Saturdays. I've pinned this to our group board. Hope to see you back this weekend!

  6. Happy Valentine's Day! How fitting! Thank you so much for sharing Plants for Heart Health with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I'm pinning and sharing!