What You’ll Learn
- Not all fats are created equal. Some fats like those in algae are good for your heart.
- Spirulina algae is a great source of nitric oxide and helps lower blood pressure.
- Vitamin K2, found in chlorella algae, is essential for heart health.
February is a month dedicated to our hearts. We’re not just talking about February 14th, the day where loved one’s exchange flowers and chocolates.
February is also the month dedicated to Heart Health. Did you know that heart disease takes the lives of one in three women? That’s one third of all mothers, sisters and female friends . We were stunned. You should be too. Diet and exercise are two of the most important things we can do to care for our hearts. But what does eating healthy for your heart actually look like?
Our first tip is to avoid eating trans and saturated fats (especially from animal protein); avoid processed and cured meats like bacon and sausage, fried foods, sugar filled foods and simple carbohydrates. Foods like this can increase blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for heart disease .
Our second tip is to eat foods that help protect and improve your heart health and we’re going to share a few suggestions below so hang in with us.
1. Healthy Fats:
Healthy fats have been found to help prevent and even treat heart disease/stroke . If this sounds counter-intuitive don’t worry, it’s because not all fats are created equal. Your body needs healthy fats like Omega-3 which reduce inflammation, help with absorption of fat-based vitamins, build cell membranes, support blood clotting, muscle movement, and more . The problem arises when your diet has too many of the wrong fats like the ones we mentioned above which cause inflammation and interfere with all the good actions of the healthy fats. If you need a simple way to remember this, think of the bad fats as the bad witch in the Wizard of Oz and the healthy Omega-3 fats as the good witch. Want a happy ending? Eat healthy fats!
Studies have shown that healthy fats like essential fatty-acids and polyunsaturated fats also reduce blood pressure, raise HDL (healthy cholesterol), lower triglycerides (fats) in our blood , reduce harmful LDL cholesterol and improve the total cholesterol profile .
Where to Start: The important thing to remember is that while healthy fats are good for us, they must be eaten in moderation. Try making small changes like eating a few more foods that contain monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats -avocados, flaxseeds, olives and yes algae!
In fact, several studies have shown that spirulina algae can lower cholesterol levels. In one study, thirty six individuals ingested spirulina daily for six weeks, and the benefits included decreased plasma cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and lowered blood pressure . Don’t believe us? Why not try this yourself and see how quickly your cholesterol levels normalize with spirulina.
2. Nitric Oxide
When foods containing nitrates are consumed, the nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, which confers a wide range of health benefits related to heart health and exercise performance . In fact, several studies have shown that eating nitrate-rich vegetables can lower blood pressure as much as some blood pressure medications .
Nitric oxide is produced by nearly every type of cell in the human body and is one of the most important molecules for blood vessel health . Most importantly, nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which means it relaxes the smooth muscles of your blood vessels, causing them to widen or “dilate”. In this way, nitric oxide increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure- both which are preventative against heart disease .
Here is where it can get confusing…. you may have heard nitrates and cancer used in the same sentence. This is because sodium nitrates are commonly used as a preservative in bacon, cold cuts and hot dogs (and are totally different than the nitrates found naturally in plant-based foods). You definitely want to avoid eating foods that contain sodium nitrates since they have been linked to many health conditions including bowel cancer . The safe form of nitric oxide comes from foods like algae that convert to nitric oxide to improve your blood flow and thus your heart health .
Where to Start: Eat a variety of plant-based foods like dark leafy greens, garlic, beets and algae! Algae provides naturally occurring nitric oxide, that opens blood vessels and facilitates blood flow which improves performance and increases alertness . As the blood flow increases, more oxygen is delivered to your body and brain, fatigue is reduced, and focus is enhanced . Not only will algae help protect your heart health, it can also help boost your athletic performance. Score!
Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables- and yes even algae (which we like to refer to as a sea vegetable)! Scientists have turned to various flavonoids to explain some of the health benefits associated with diets rich in fruits and vegetables . Like other phytonutrients, flavonoids are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Diets rich in flavonoid-containing foods are associated with neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disease prevention .
Where to Start: A study found that those who ate the most flavonoid-rich foods were nearly 20% less likely to die of heart attack or stroke even after taking into account factors such as weight, smoking and exercise . Just one or two servings a day could make a difference in your overall health- and that’s as simple as adding handful of algae to your salad or trail mix every day .
Eat a rainbow each day (and no we are not talking about Skittles). Eating a variety of different colors of fruits and vegetables will give you a variety of different nutrients and vitamins. An even easier suggestion is to have a few algae tablets every day! No cooking, cleaning or carrying veggies home from the grocery store is required when you take algae tablets! Just open your mouth, swallow or chew a few of our bits and you are good to go! Not only are algae tablets easy to take, algae is the most nutrient dense food in the world (according to NASA) and contains all of your nutrient needs- including a large array of antioxidants and phytochemicals such as flavonoids .
4. Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is essential to your overall health, but particularly your heart health. Vitamin K2 is responsible for moving calcium out of soft tissue like blood vessels and moving it into your bones where it should be . This is why Vitamin K2, prevents the stiffening of your blood vessels (also known as arteriosclerosis) which can lead to more serious cardiovascular events including heart attacks and strokes .
Researchers have found that Vitamin K2, decreases coronary calcification (calcification of two very important arteries) . In one study, 62% of over 550 women of menopausal age were shown to have calcification in their arteries. However, the participants with a higher intake of Vitamin K2 in their diet had decreased levels of calcification, showing a direct link between Vitamin K2 and decreased arterial calcification . So skip the chocolates on Valentine’s Day and buy some chlorella algae instead since it contains your daily requirement of Vitamin K2!
Where to Start: The best-known sources of Vitamin K2 are grass fed animal protein and fermented foods. Sadly, most people in America/Canada don’t eat much of either, which explains why recent research has shown that virtually everyone is deficient in Vitamin K2. No wonder heart disease has been escalating over the last thirty years! Vitamin K2 is absolutely essential for heart health. Fortunately, chlorella algae is an excellent source of Vitamin K2 (and vegan too!). Chlorella contains approximately 240 mcg of Vitamin K2 per 100 g (200-times the amount of Vitamin K2 found in conventional U.S. beef) . To make sure you are getting enough Vitamin K2 simply take a single serving of RECOVERYbits chlorella algae tablets every day (30 tablets). You can swallow them or add them to trail mix, salads or just about anything! They even taste great with just sea salt or macadamia nuts.
So there you have it! We hope you enjoyed learning how to care for your heart health with healthy fats, foods and algae! Your heart works for you 365 days of the year, 24 hours a day and if you give it the nutrition that it needs, it will keep you alive and well for years to come. That sure sounds like true love to us!