• A silver coin from Cyrene depicting the seed of a silphium plant

  • February is known as the “Heart” month.  From flowers and roses to dinners and chocolate, people express their feelings of love relating them to the heart. 

    I was curious to know how the heart became the symbol of love, and so I looked a little deeper.

    By modern definition, the heart shape is an ideograph used to express the idea of the “heart” in its metaphorical or symbolic sense as the core of emotion, affection and love. It refers mostly, but not only, to romantic love.

    One theory suggests that the origin of the heart symbol can be traced back to an ancient plant called silphium. Silphium was a species of giant fennel that used to grow on the North African coastline near the Greek colony of Cyrene. The Greeks and Romans used it as a spice and medicine, but also as a form of birth control. Various ancient writers and poets have alluded to Its protective properties. The fact that it was extinct by the first century A.D. speaks about its popularity. On some of the ancient depictions, the seed of the silphium resembles the modern heart shape.

    Another theory suggests that the heart shape originates from other plants such as ivy leaves, or the leaves of the waterlily. Others speculate the form resembles breasts, buttocks or some other parts of the human body.

    Although there are several theories, one cannot disagree that the human heart resembles the same shape, yet within this shape are emotions as feelings for when love dies, a piece of the heart may die. 

    So, how do we keep the heart healthy?

    The answer is a combination of sufficient exercise, nutrients and, of course, lots of love!

    The heart is a muscle.  It is composed of a combination of both smooth and striated muscle tissue.  It is this unique tissue combination that allows the heart to benefit from making it work harder.  The harder it works, the stronger it gets, much like lifting weights to strengthen your arms rather than just swinging them.  

    The Canadian Fitness Activity Guide recommends 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity weekly.  The intensity must be enough to get the heart working a little harder. 

    You can measure this through activities that increase your heart rate.  You should be able to feel your heart beating a little faster, your body temperature rising, and If you need to take some breaths between words while speaking, you are doing a great job! 

    What about Diet and Heart Disease?

    When we think of foods that affect the heart, we often think of fats, specifically cholesterol.  However, a paradigm shift is happening, and refined carbohydrates, sugar and insulin resistance are emerging as new threats to heart health.

    It has taken over twenty years to have some attention to his merit, but Russian physician Uffe Ravnskov, in his book, The Cholesterol Myths, unmasks the fallacy that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. I highly recommend reading this book.

    Insulin is the essential hormone that moves glucose from the blood to inside the cell.  However, insulin-resistant cells do not open the door to the glucose, and therefore, no insulin is deposited.  The pancreas then produces more insulin, the signal is not received, and glucose levels continue to rise, progressing over time to Type 2 Diabetes.

    Diabetes is not the only outcome of insulin resistance, nor are other health conditions; however, insulin resistance alone will double one’s risk for cardiovascular disease.

    Overly high insulin levels can impact the health of the heart by causing direct damage to the CV system.  It can cause changes to blood vessels allowing plaque to form, and it can fuel cholesterol production and increase blood pressure.

    While insulin resistance correlates to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, sugar and weight-gain as a result of a high sugar diet may be the real catalyst.

    Get moving is one key to addressing insulin resistance. (Use the Canadian Fitness Guide recommendations to help.)

    A diet top-heavy in plants with lots of fibre, nuts, legumes and antioxidant-rich foods should support proper insulin function.

    Supplements that can help along with exercise and diet are Vitamin D and Calcium.  Studies have shown that when combined, insulin levels improve.

    Other supplements are Berberine, found in goldenseal and Oregon grape, Curcumin, found in Turmeric, Zinc, Myo-inositol and Magnesium all have shown to improve insulin management.

    “While insulin is essential for our survival, too much of a good thing may have dire consequences to our heart and overall health.”  ~ Gillian Flower, ND

    So, to keep the heart healthy, diet, exercise and although not physiologically dependent on love, the heart centre will thrive with it.  Give love generously, receive love with humility and the heart will sustain life.

     “… and he suddenly knew that if she killed herself, he would die. Maybe not immediately, maybe not with the same blinding rush of pain, but it would happen. You couldn’t live for very long without a heart…”
    ~ Jodi Picoult

    To celebrate February Heart Health, we are offering these specials until February 29, 2020. To order, call 613-752-1540. If shipped, add $10.50 for postage & handling.

    Super EFA Capsules – $41.10 (Reg. $48.30)

    • Provides 1,048 mg of EPA and 750 mg of DHA per daily dose
    • Supports cardiovascular health and reduces serum triglycerides in adults
    • Helps support cognitive health and brain function

    Super EFA Liquid Plus – $40.95 (Reg. $49.90)

    • Supports cardiovascular and cognitive health, while reducing serum triglycerides
    • Provides 700 mg of EPA, 525 mg of DHA and 325 mg of plant sterol esters per daily dose
    • Delicious natural orange-flavoured liquid

    Statin Care – $46.50 (Reg. $54.70)

    • Offers a unique combination of coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, and vitamin D
    • Helps to maintain and support cardiovascular health
    • Promotes antioxidant defence

    Choles-Sterol™– $58.60 (Reg. $69.00)

    • Supplies plant sterols, pomegranate extract and clinically studied Sytrinol™, a patented blend of flavonoids from red-orange and tocotrienols from oil palm
    • Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels and lower total and LDL cholesterol
    • Supports antioxidant defence

    Cal Mag Liquid Vanilla + – $31.95 (Reg. 39.95)

    • Formula includes 500 mg calcium citrate
    • 200 mg magnesium citrate
    • 1000 IU’s Vitamin D
    • 40 mcg and 60 mcg Vitamin K1 and K2

    If you have concerns about your body’s insulin resistance or heart concerns or the recommended heart products, I would be happy to discuss this with you.  Please call 613-752-1540 or email: info@wellnessnaturalhealthcentre.com