Heart health and what you can do to strengthen it.

Nicola MasseyNutrition and Wellbeing, Resilience

Heart _health

Fact: More people die from cardiovascular disease each year than from any other cause the World Health Organisation confirmed in 2017.

What are the definitions of cardiovascular disease:

Coronary heart disease: which affects the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle.

Congenital heart disease: Defect from birth of the heart structure.

Peripheral arterial disease: Arms and legs blood vessels are affected.

Cerebrovascular disease: Is where the blood vessels in the brain are affected

Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism: These are blood clots in the legs that break free and reach the lungs and heart.

Maybe you are tired all the time, have no energy, no real drive to get on with things. Do you get short of breath, maybe you have a family history of high blood pressure or other heart problems? But often there are no symptoms at all or you just don’t notice them as they slowly creep up on you.

There are many things you could be doing to bring about fast acting and long lasting change to your heart health. Below I cover a few points that I feel are critical in my experience.

Strengthening your heart.

Well, an obvious one we all know is exercise. That’s all great, but not if you’ve no energy to do it in the first place. With clever supplementation and the right food, you can really change your body’s fuel and your energy for a positive outcome.

Essential diet changes

Heart disease is caused by inflammation, created by lifestyle. It’s vitally important to remove all the inflammatory foods from your diet. This can not be underestimated, the removal of starchy carbs, processed meats, cow dairy and the old arch enemy sugar is essential. Eating a balance of fat, protein, carbohydrate, fibre and antioxidant-rich food is needed for good heart health, the key is the balance for you individually.  Click here More information on consultations

Inflammation equals stress

Sugar No 1 on your hit list

Sugar has been identified recently (2016 article in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases) as the number one enemy and to blame for the heart disease epidemic and not actually fat as first thought. Like with anything moderation is key. Removing all refined sugars is paramount to a healthy heart so try using natural blackstrap molasses, stevia (natural not with fillers) or erythritol (naturally found in grapes, pears, and melons) as a substitute and erythritol is suitable for diabetics. But reducing sugar is essential.

Once you have removed the excess sugar your taste buds return to normal and after a while, you’ll really notice the sweetness of a berry and will happily consume 85 – 95% dark chocolate with no problem.  Oh yes you will. It’s an adjustment, but it’s a worthwhile one.

Understanding protein

Protein-rich products have flooded the market recently. Protein products can be great for building and retaining muscle and this is sensible to do as we get older.  But as with anything, there is always a balance to be maintained.

You may have heard of Homocysteine, in a nutshell, it’s an amino acid that breaks down protein-rich food. If you’re consuming more protein, especially the fitness junkies out there it’s important to address your B vitamin profile. The Homocysteine process is helped along with B vitamins and Coenzyme Q 10. If you don’t have enough of the B vitamins in your body your homocysteine level will be too high.  This increases the risk of vascular disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.

 When to supplement: Co-Enzyme Q 10

I hear you ask what is Co Enzyme Q 10 (CoQ10). Well, it plays a major role in energy production and antioxidant protection in the body. CoQ10 helps our cells to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is often referred to as the body’s  “molecular unit of currency”. ATP is the very essence of life it gives us our get up and go. So by taking CoQ10 your increasing ATP, helping to protect cells and tissue.  It also improves exercise performance, cardiovascular health, reduces muscle fatigue and pain and protects DNA from free radical-induced oxidative damage. This is one supplement I wouldn’t give up.

B Vitamins

Low levels of B vitamins have been linked to cardiovascular disease as well as memory loss, depression, motor skills, joint pain and so on.  They are crucial enzyme cofactors in converting food into ATP as mentioned above. Balanced levels of all of the B vitamins are required. It’s sometimes hard to eat a balanced diet as the foods grown can be naturally lacking in nutrients from over farming. So supplementing with B vitamins is crucial. I take a range of single supplements which is a faff, yes, but they are what my body has been tested for and needs.

Vitamin E

There are many benefits to taking Vitamin E, cardiovascular health is just one. This versatile vitamin helps balance cholesterol and slows down the progression of atherosclerosis or hardening/thickening of the arteries.  Vitamin E can help treat and prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels, such as high blood pressure, blocked or hardened arteries and chest pains. Sources of Vitamin E are found only in plant foods, particular oils and nuts, grains, fruits and wheat germ. It’s also available as a supplement but only take a natural form.

Taking action


Understanding what is negative and positive for your body is key to maintaining good health. You may totally love your porridge oats and soya milk for breakfast each morning thinking your eating well…but if you’re intolerant to oats or soya this will cause your energy to descended a little every day causing more and more inflammation.


Muscle testing

(Kinesiology) is an extremely effective method of testing your body for its likes and dislikes.

You’re only as good as the fuel you put in.

This is a huge subject area and there many things you can do, so many products you could take. But if there is one piece of advice I can give you is get tested for what foods are causing your inflammation and stop eating them. That is the best gift you can give to yourself and your family. It’s never too late to change your future health.

Please get in touch to see how I can help you. Consultations