Strong hearts need better nutrition
MUNCY – The Muncy Public Library is continuing its series on health and nutrition. A program was presented on Tuesday, February 27 by Helen O. Hiserman, a physician assistant from Muncy that specializes in nutritional and lifestyle medicine. She thoroughly explained the benefits of healthy nutrition and how it makes the heart stronger.
She emphasized that exposure to toxins, chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and smoke affects the heart and can contribute to heart disease. “These things are toxic enough to cause serious illness,” she stated. Decide what can be controlled and what is being absorbed into our bodies. Chronic exposure can lead to inflammation which leads to other illnesses. “Debris can be trapped in the blood vessels and block arteries and blood flow causing blockage, chest pain and can lead to a heart attack.” One thousand new chemicals are being introduced each year in our environment according to Hiserman.
Foods that are never meant to be digested cause inflammatory markers known as cytokines, she explained. These are small secreted proteins that interact between cells and can cause oxidative stress and damage. Better nutrition will fight against inflammation and free radicals by producing antioxidants.
“Heart disease can be prevented or reversed naturally,” Hiserman said. She made several suggestions to help detoxify the body. She recommends avoiding industrial vegetable oils like corn and soy, cottonseed, sunflower and safflower. “These promote oxidative damage and inflammation,” she added. Many of them have a longer shelf life and have been genetically modified. “This can be toxic to many. Look at labels for a healthier version.” She suggests healthier, saturated fats like olive oil, coconut, flax seed, hemp, palm kernel or avocado. “These protect our heart as well as nuts and seeds.” They are unrefined and cold-pressed.
Sugar and cholesterol are also bad for the heart according to Hiserman. White bread, potatoes and pasta can cause spikes in blood sugar. Substitute maple syrup, honey and date sugar for sweetness, and eat nutrient dense foods. “Organ meats are very good and healthy for us,” she added. So are sea minerals and carotenoids, the plant pigments that are responsible for yellow and orange foods like carrots and sweet potatoes.
Fermented foods like kombucha provide a healthy balance in the digestive system and good bacteria. Hiserman suggests taking vitamin K-2 and D-3 for the heart. “If calcium and magnesium are high, cut back on dairy.” Vitamin D levels should be at 50, a 30 score is too low. “It is important to know your baseline,” she said. “Your family doctor can provide this test.”
Have a plan of action for exercise all 12 months of the year, not just the summer or warmer months.
Finally, she told everyone to manage stress. “There is no reason not to enjoy life. It is not good to stress the heart. It triples the risk of heart disease,” she said and spent some time explaining ways to lower stress and manage it better for the heart. She suggested acupuncture, biofeedback, meditation and prayer, adequate sleep, and to engage in doing something creative.
She offers patients Ondamed, a technique similar to “tapping” on the meridians. The study was done in 2004 in Germany and this biofeedback therapy has been proven to help stress and reduce inflammation and pain. “Ondamed is biofeedback that provides electromagnetic frequencies that help to energize and balance our cells so that the body can function better,” she said.
Hiserman also suggested a CRP test for the heart which tests for inflammation of the heart and suggests the following daily supplements for maximum health: Omega 3, curcumin, garlic, co-enzyme Q10, selenium, Vitamins C, D, E, digestive enzymes and essential oils. To prevent illness from colds and flu, 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams of Vitamin C are recommended.
To reach Hiserman for counseling or treatments, contact her at FreshLife in Williamsport.