Two physical elements that you cannot live without, and that are abundant and practically free, will help you immensely as you aim to keep your heart healthy. They are air and water, or more specifically, clean air and clean cool water, which provide a solid foundation for the body’s needs. Breathing in fresh, clean air enables your heart to pump a rich supply of oxygen throughout your whole body. And drinking enough clean, pure water improves the quality of your blood, which in turn improves your heart health.
Let’s Talk About Air
Your body requires a good supply of oxygen to keep it running optimally. Literally, oxygen is food for your body. Benefits include:
• Cell regeneration
• Energy production
• Waste elimination
• Tissue detoxification
• Healthy brain activity
• Immune system maintenance
• Promotion of healing and recovery
• Natural calming effect
We all know that without oxygen, we die very quickly. Our body systems simply shut down. It makes sense, then, that ongoing low oxygen intake is equivalent to a slow death. This is why increasing your daily supply of oxygen should become one of your highest health-related priorities.
Thankfully, increasing your oxygen intake is well within your reach. It’s a matter of learning to breathe deeply. Unfortunately, as we grow older we develop the tendency to breathe shallower and shallower. It’s a mistaken notion that our lungs lose their capacity as we age. That’s simply not true. In actuality, we “forget” how to breathe deeply, and we tend to take shorter, shallower breaths that deprive our cells of oxygen and fail to use our full lung capacity.
Take a deep breath right now, then exhale slowly. Feel your lungs filling up. Feel every cell of your body energized by the oxygen. Feel yourself relax with every big breath you take. Therapeutic, isn’t it?
I’ve developed a form of deep breathing called Full Wave Breathing™ (FWB) that does wonders to increase your body’s oxygen intake. It’s an easy three-step process that you can learn quickly and master with regular practice. It involves breathing fully into your abdomen and maintaining a steady inhale-exhale flow with no pause in between. Your exhale is effortless and natural. You can breathe through your nose or mouth, whichever you prefer. Just be aware that breathing through your mouth can increase oxygenation by more than 50 percent.
You can download and print complete FWB instructions here. This is a great technique for working with children as well as adults. After downloading FWB instructions (they’re free), remember to practice this powerful technique daily. We’ll cover FWB more in future posts.
Many individuals have found Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT or HBO) to be highly beneficial. HBOT involves flooding every cell of the body with oxygen. The individual lies down comfortably in a chamber and breathes normally. The pressurized chamber supplies 100% oxygen. Most sessions last from 45 minutes to two hours, with the person relaxing inside while breathing normally and listening to soothing music. This therapy is used extensively in Europe and in Russia, with positive results. It’s not as widely available in the United States yet; fewer than 400 American hospitals offer HBOT. But it is available.
Doctors and researchers have discovered that HBOT:
➢ Increases oxygen concentration in all body tissues
➢ Improves blood flow, even in regions with arterial blockages and also to compromised organs
➢ Stimulates growth of new blood vessels
➢ Enhances white blood cell action
➢ Successfully addresses chronic degenerative health problems.
For these reasons and others, HBOT is used around the world to treat a vast array of ailments. Conditions that have been successfully treated by this method include traumatic brain injury, stroke, fetal alcohol syndrome, coma, multiple sclerosis, autism, and sports injuries. More and more it’s being used for cardiovascular cases.
Spend some time researching Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on the Internet. If you feel you might benefit from this form of therapy, then print the information that you find most useful and take it to your doctor. Discuss with him or her the potential benefits in your particular situation. This form of therapy is approved by Medicare for limited uses, including peripheral artery disease. Know also that private clinical services are available.
Let’s Talk About Water
Next we move on to water, another basic element that does wonders for your health and wellbeing. Over the years, you’ve repeatedly heard that it’s a good idea to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Why is this important? Because the cells of your body, including your heart, need water to work properly. Your body is composed of water, and you lose water through natural functions like perspiration. It’s important to replenish this water daily.
Sufficient water intake helps with your digestion, keeping your skin hydrated, helping your body absorb nutrients from food, and detoxifying your cells. In addition, drinking enough water can stave off a wide range of maladies, from headaches to exhaustion to even kidney stones!
What’s more, drinking plenty of water can lower your risk of getting heart disease for a number of reasons. Here are several:
- Being marginally dehydrated affects your blood’s viscosity, or thickness, which can raise blood pressure and increase heart attack risk.
- When the body doesn’t get enough water, it “closes off” some capillaries. This restricts the flow of blood and causes blood pressure to rise in order to keep the blood circulating through.
- Water contains minerals, such as magnesium, which help keep the heart healthy.
- By drinking plenty of water, you flush toxins out of your system more quickly. This, in turn, helps keep your blood cleaner, so to speak. Healthier blood circulating through your body keeps your heart healthier, too.
A study conducted by the Loma Linda University Medical Center in California found that drinking enough water every day significantly reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Findings showed that healthy men who drank at least five glasses of water a day had a 54% decrease in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease compared to men who drank only two glasses of water. For women, the risk was lowered by 41%. Researchers believe this is due to the fact that drinking plenty of water thins the blood, which reduces the risk of developing blood clots.
Tap water is good, so long as you filter it to remove harmful substances such as fluoride and chlorine. A faucet-type filter can remove most impurities and you’ll need to keep it clean.
It’s best to drink plain water; juices, milk, teas, and sodas do not have the same effect as plain water does. They do count as part of your daily consumption unless they are diuretic in nature. Bottled water is also a good option for drinking; although, it has some negative implications for the environment. Make the choice that makes sense for you!