Love Your Heart


With it being Valentine’s Day you are either looking out for a way to spoil the other half or maybe on your own hoping to get a date sorted. The symbol of Valentine’s Day focuses on the heart as a sign of love and happiness, it beats a little quicker when we have that chemistry with someone .. We all know the feeling of breathing a little quicker and sweaty palms plus the butterflies in the stomach. Or the heavy hearted feeling when someone we love is no longer in our lives. But how many of us know what the heart really does? Do you know how to look after your heart?

Our heart is the constant throughout our life without its continued rhythmic beat we would quickly die, medicine has advanced so much we can now transplant a heart to someone in need yet we are still learning about the heart and making discoveries. Until there is something that might be going wrong we don’t really think about the heart .. the focus of health for many tends to be fat loss whereas really our heart has some needs a little help for it work at its best.

What does your heart do?
The heart works really hard for us .. on average, 72 beats a minute, 100,000 per day and in a lifetime up to 2.5 billion times. It pumps blood round the 100,000 miles of blood vessels we have in our body.

The heart is not just a pump though it can remember, sense and feel. In a book by Dr Pearsall, the Heart’s Code .. there is an example of an 8 year old girl who has a transplant from a 10 year old girl who was murdered. Over time the 8 year began having nightmares about the murder and after telling police the murderer was convicted based on her knowing the murder weapon and a full description.

It has been discovered that the heart has its own nervous system, with neurones the main nerve cells in the brain also being found in the heart. It tells the brain which chemicals to produce in our brain so really is the lynchpin of how we think and feel, have you ever thought of your brain in that way?

How to look after your heart
Some top tips:

Destress and enjoy life .. What is good for the head is good for the heart
Sounds like an obvious one but stress, frustration, worry and anger cause heart rhythms to become unbalanced, reducing efficiency by up to 7% and then also affect our brain, hormones and immune.
Find out what you best ways of relaxing are and book in time to really relax, phone and TV off .. why not enjoy a massage.

Reduce inflammation
The brain demands and needs an abundant blood flow up to 25% of all blood pumped by the brain, so it in turn is dependent on the health of the lungs and heart to be at its best.
Inflammation reduces blood flow to brain and oxygen levels in blood, making our heart work harder. Reduce inflammation by eating none processed food, drinking plenty of water and a teaspoon of bicarbonate soda or alkalising salts each day.
Fuel your heart, it NEEDs fats.

Your heart demands 60-70% of its energy from fats, but lots of nutrients are needed to convert fat to fuel.
So ensure you are including good fats in your diet such as coconut, avocado or extra virgin olive oil plus rotate and vary your foods to get as many nutrients as possible to help the conversion process.

Plenty of sleep
The heart needs a break, it will of course not stop beating but it will have less work to do when you are asleep as it is not needing to feed the brain and our digestive system slows.

Try to be in bed by 10.30pm at least a few nights a week to give your heart time to relax and also to help manage your hormones.

Look after your arteries
If you have healthy arteries you will have a healthy body. In some cases arteries can develop atherosclerosis where the arteries start to build up plaque and begin to narrow making your heart work harder.
Vitamin C is needed to keep your 400 miles of arteries strong and flexible, humans no longer produce vitamin C so you need to ensure you get this from your food or supplement.

Get affectionate.. cuddle time
Touch and affection has been shown to reduce heart rate and improve healing times in seriously ill patients. It also reduces cortisol and inflammation which would reduce our immune system, making us less likely to infections and colds.
So get close to those you love and get hugging, proven to be good for you and FEELs great
A final point, be careful with your heart but still give it to Love your Life
This Valentine’s whether you are with a loved one or not still give of your heart and all the feelings of compassion, care and passion that go with it to live a full life. If your heart is healthy, then it will be strong for you when you need it.

Nicola Buckley is the owner and head coach of Love your Life, a fitness company focused on helping busy people to fall back in love with their lives and bodies. This is done through a fitness camp 3 times a week in Caversham and an online group, both of which have delivered life changing results for clients.