Valentine’s Day is coming up and what better occasion to talk about issues of the heart? Not just on an emotional level though, we are talking straight up cardiovascular health. It’s common knowledge that gut health affects your immune system. But here’s the tea: it actually impacts your heart health as well.
New research has found that having a healthy gut can improve your cardiovascular health in different ways. The research is still in its infancy stage, but the evidence linking a healthy gut and healthy heart to one another is growing consistently. How is that even possible, you ask? Fair question. Not even researchers are quite sure about the underlying mechanisms.
Microbe diversity in your gut influences your overall health in many ways. It decreases the risk of diabetes, obesity, inflammatory stomach, bowel diseases and now, even cardiovascular diseases.
A recent study by the University of Nottingham and King’s College London has for example been able to link poor gut diversity to arterial hardening in women, which is a well-known risk for cardiovascular diseases. The results suggest that diet and probiotics could decrease the risk of heart disease by altering the composition of bacteria in your gut. Gut bacteria has further been linked to blood pressure. A healthy microbe diversity seems to help lower blood pressure according to current research.
Gut health also helps indicate if a person is at risk for serious cardiovascular events, like a heart attack or stroke. For example, red meat contains dietary choline which is converted into a damaging substance called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) by your gut bacteria. Elevated levels of TMAO contribute to a heightened risk for blood clot-related events such as heart attack and stroke. That means, checking the composition of people’s gut bacteria can actually save lives! How great is that?
What can we do?
Your overall health is affected by gut bacteria, it affects your metabolism, your immune responses and according to newest research even your heart health. The relationship between the two isn’t quite clear yet though. You might say it’s complicated. But still, the evidence is growing.
Now, what can we do to make sure our gut health is on point?
What’s certain is that what we eat plays a major role in the composition of our gut microbiota, which influences our risk for many chronic diseases. That is why it is so important to eat top-quality, high-fiber foods.
Many doctors recommend a low-fat diet and less red meat for optimal heart health. A high-fiber diet may encourage the growth of healthy gut bacteria that produces the right chemicals that are then absorbed by our bodies impacting our overall health positively. There are certain foods which contain the bacteria we need to produce those superhero chemicals, for example, garlic, onion, asparagus, whole grain pasta, and sweet potatoes.
Basically, growing research suggests that the dietary habits that are helpful to prevent heart disease also help with your gut health. Avoid red meats, limit your salt intake, and eat a ton of fiber-rich vegetables and whole grains.
That is where our vegan PURPO instant cereal comes in. It’s packed with healthy ingredients like for example the fiber-rich purple sweet potato, oats or cranberries. It’s the perfect snack for health-conscious people to indulge in guiltlessly. Because we all need a treat here and there, don’t we?
Valentine’s Day struggles
Now after all this talk about physical health, let’s not forget our mental health. Especially with Valentine’s Day coming up, things can get hard.
If you’re in a relationship, take time each week for date nights. Yes, it’s nice to go out on V-Day and have a nice fancy dinner, but if you don’t pay attention to each other the other 364 days in the year, that’s just not good enough for a healthy relationship. My husband and I are benefiting from one-to-one time like ballroom dance lessons and casual dine outs kid-free, remembering why we fell in love in the first place. I also have mommy and me time with my kids once a week so they don't feel left out. My kids, being as clever as they are, are now even encouraging us to go on date nights because it sets us in a good mood for the rest of the week.
If you’re single, go out with your friends on Valentine’s Day! Take time to pamper yourself with healthy food and good company. V-Day is supposed to be about love, right? Well, we’re loving ourselves all 2019!
Whether you’re spending this year's Valentine’s Day alone, with a partner or with your family - remember that your first love is you. Treat yourself right - mentally and physically. Happy V-Day!
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