By Ashok Bhargava
VANCOUVER: Love can be puzzling because it requires caring, sharing as well as showing you care to share with roses, Champaign and chocolate etc. It is said you can love others only if you love yourself therefore let’s shift our focus towards self-love and start taking care of our hearts. With a healthy heart you will be in a better position to show love to others.
February conjures images of the bone-chilling cold, Super Bowl festivities and Valentine’s Day cards. Besides chocolates and romance, potato chips and beer, February is also Heart Month. While celebrating February, it is very important that we pay some attention to our hearts and improve its health.
The heart is one of most important organs in our body, and it requires us to have all forms of wellness in check. In recognition of Heart Month, we should take some time to show our hearts a little love: emotionally, nutritionally and physically!
Emotional Heart Love:
Stress is considered one of the main contributors to illness. It’s important to acknowledge how our emotions affect specific areas of the body.
Hindu tradition focuses on chakras as energy centers, and the belief is that those energy centers correlate to physical illnesses in the body. When traumas happen, and negative emotions occur, this can cause the heart chakra to become closed and out of balance. When the heart is closed it leaves the individual feeling withdrawn and hard on themselves. If these emotions ring true for you, there are several small changes you can make to reopen your heart:
• Wear the color green- Green is said to be good for you heart, because it helps bring physical equilibrium and relaxation.
• Use rose essential oil – Using essential oils can affect biological factors such as heart rate, stress levels, and blood pressure.
• Give yourself a compliment—write down one of your positive attributes each day and say it out loud.
• Pay it forward— giving selflessly to others opens your heart to receiving more love.
• Smile with your heart—the power of positivity can make a lasting impact on your health.
• Hug others and accept them as they are.
Nutritional Heart Love:
Proper nutrition plays an integral role in maintaining optimal heart health. Lucky for us the heart loves hefty servings of delicious foods:
• Salmon: When purchased from an organic and wild source, it will not only satisfy your taste buds but fulfill your heart’s need to lower blood pressure. You can thank salmon’s high content of omega 3 fatty acids for the extra loving.
• Tomatoes: This heart shaped fruit contains the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene, when served on a combo platter with Vitamin C, (which tomatoes are high in as well) aids in decreasing inflammation and reducing the risk of ASVD.
• Kale: Kale is a nutritional powerhouse that works for our tickers in many ways. Kale is high in fiber which helps remove the buildup of plaque and toxins within the body. This green leafy vegetable can also make your heart work more effectively with its high content of the phytonutrient and lutein. Lutein has been found to lower the risk of heart disease.
Physical Heart Love:
There is nothing your heart loves more than seeing you sweat! Daily exercise will help you lower your blood pressure, decrease stress on the heart, improve circulation and maintain a healthy body weight.
• If you have been searching for a heart-approved sweat session, then focus on incorporating yoga into your weekly routine. Poses such as camel and cobra will help open your heart, calm your mind and strengthen your body.
• If you want a workout that will get your heart pumping, try interval running. This involves alternating between a running speed that requires 95 per cent of your maximum effort and a speed that requires between 50-60 per cent of your maximum effort. Your heart will thank you.
(Ashok Bhargava is the president of Writers International Network Canada)