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A checkup on your heart may look something like this: an echocardiogram to check your valves, an MRI to look for scar tissue, and an EKG to predict incoming heart attack development. As great as these methods are, they do have drawbacks. But this simple at-home method can check your heart status in between checkups…
Just recently, doctors and researchers have found what they believe is an easy, inexpensive, and quick way you can get an idea of your overall heart health in under a minute.
It won’t take the place of these important diagnostic tests, especially if you’re already under the care of a cardiologist.
But if you’re not, haven’t you wondered about the status of your heart health, and about what you can start doing right now to turn things around before it’s too late? Read on to get answers to both those pressing questions…
Test your heart health by climbing stairs
Dr. Jesús Peteiro, a cardiologist from the University Hospital A Coruña in Spain led a study to find, in what he described in his own words, as a way to “… find a simple and inexpensive method of assessing heart health.”
He took 165 symptomatic patients who were suspected of having symptoms associated with coronary artery disease and tested their endurance via four flights of steps. Patients were assigned a metabolic equivalent (MET) score — a measurement for energy output — then researchers categorized the results. Here’s what they found…
Those who climbed the stairs in less than 45 seconds achieved a MET score of 9-10. Based on past studies, if someone had a MET of 10, they had a low mortality rate — 10 percent in 10 years — when compared to someone who had a MET score of less than 8, which showed a higher mortality rate of 30 percent within the next 10 years.
And while these numbers aren’t absolute for everyone, the big takeaway is that the stronger your heart and the more tolerant it is of exercise, the lower your mortality is.
Simple things you can do to build up your heart
That’s great news, and while everyone should try to get some exercise, even if it’s just walking, not everyone can.
Fortunately, making small changes to your diet and incorporating the right supplements can benefit your heart health as well. Here are some changes you can make right now:
Eat omega-3 rich foods: According to the American Heart Association (AHA), eating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Here is a short, but by no means exhaustive list, of some incredible benefits of increasing your omega-3 intake:
- Decreasing triglycerides
- Lowering blood pressure slightly
- Reducing blood clotting
- Decreasing your risk of strokes and heart failure risk
- Reducing irregular heartbeats
To get the recommended amounts of omega-3s, the AHA recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week. However, not all fish are equal, with some fish having too little omega-3s or being full of toxins like mercury, plastic by-products and other environmental pollutants.
Here are AHA-approved fish full of omega-3s:
- Atlantic mackerel
- Lake trout
- Canned, light tuna
If you’re not a fan of seafood, here are a few other sources (although not quite as high):
- Grass-fed meats
- Eggs (Look for DHA/EPA)
- Seeds like chia, hemp and flaxseeds
Take a special “cellular” energy supplement for your heart: One of the most potent fuels for powering your cells is CoQ10. CoQ10 protects and supports your mitochondria (your cell generators), specifically in the organs of the heart, lungs, spleen and kidney. As we age, the amount of CoQ10 we store in our body decreases with time (and even faster when using cholesterol-lowering statins).
Research from the Mayo Clinic shows that the best way to maintain your CoQ10 levels as you age is to eat more CoQ10-rich foods while supplementing with it (since food sources on their own just don’t have enough).
While there is no officially established dose regarding CoQ10 supplementation, many studies usually range between 100-200 milligrams and consider those safe.
Regarding foods, here are good sources of CoQ10 in food:
- Organ meats: Heart, Liver and Kidney
- Fatty fish: Salmon and tuna
- Legumes: Lentils, soybeans and peanuts
- Fruits: Oranges and strawberries
- Vegetables: Spinach, cauliflower and broccoli
As crucial as CoQ10 is, there’s one more nutrient your heart can’t do without. While CoQ10 is vital to power up your mitochondria, PQQ — or Pyrroloquinoline quinone — has the uncanny ability to create new mitochondria.
In addition to supplementing PQQ, you can also boost it with extreme workouts and calorie restriction.
Remember, according to Dr. Peteiro, “If it takes you more than one-and-a-half minutes to ascend four flights of stairs, your health is suboptimal, and it would be a good idea to consult a doctor.”
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
Test your heart by climbing the stairs — Science Daily
Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease — European Review for Medical Pharmacological Sciences
Coenzyme Q10 — Mayo Clinic
Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient — Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences