Nutrition is Key to Cardiovascular Health

Published on July 17, 2023

By Gaia Herbs

Gaia Herbs

No matter your age, heart health should be a priority. Heart disease has long been the number one killer of Americans, and protecting your cardiovascular health relies mostly on lifestyle changes that support a healthy heart.REF#2304 

Taking care of your basic wellness may seem like a tall task, especially if you find yourself in a less-than-healthy physical state. Don’t worry. You can make small changes that greatly impact your health and help you lower the numbers your doctor has been telling you to improve.

We’ll tell you the best ways to improve and support your cardiovascular health, with a primary focus on nutrition and supporting healthy cholesterol and blood pressure numbers. 

1. Eat a healthy diet

Eating well is a challenge for virtually everyone. We live in a fast-paced society, where fast food is a welcome solution at the end of long days. Unfortunately, convenience foods aren’t always the healthiest options for our bodies. The current studies are alarming. 

Higher consumption of fast foods is associated with a dramatic increase in metabolic syndrome, a precursor to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.REF#2305

That’s because most fast food products include processed meats, trans fats, and excess sugar, which add calories to your meal without much nutritional value. 

In fact, these foods are continually associated with weight gain, unhealthy blood sugar levels, and oxidative stress inside the cells.REF#2305

A Heart-Healthy Plate

Heart-healthy foods are whole foods that won’t leave you hungry. They’re rarely processed, full of fiber, and contain nutrients and vitamins your body needs to thrive. The American Heart Association released updated guidelines for a heart-healthy diet in 2021.REF#2306 

The guidelines include ten recommendations.REF#2306

  1. Eat only the calories you need. If you are attempting to lose weight, placing yourself in a calorie deficit, where you expend more calories than you consume, will help you meet your goals.REF#2306
  2. Load up on fruits and vegetables.REF#2306
  3. Consume plenty of whole grain foods that are minimally processed, like whole wheat options, oats, and brown rice.REF#2306
  4. Avoid trans-fats and partially hydrogenated fats.REF#2306
  5. Choose plant-based protein sources, fatty fish that contain omega-3, and lean cuts of meat like chicken or poultry. Eat less red meat.REF#2306
  6. Avoid highly processed foods.REF#2306
  7. Choose foods that do not contain added sugars.REF#2306
  8. If you do not drink alcohol, don’t start. If you do drink alcohol, limit your consumption to the recommended daily allowance.REF#2306
  9. Avoid added salt.REF#2306
  10. Choose to follow these guidelines at home and when you dine elsewhere.REF#2306

It may seem difficult to follow these guidelines. Remember that small changes make big impacts on your well-being. Start by making one change, and add another when it becomes habitual. 

2. Get Moving

Cardiovascular exercise is one of the best ways to support your overall health and wellness and reduce your risk of heart disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise or between 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly.REF#2307

That doesn’t mean you need to join a gym and spend every waking minute in a smelly locker room. Walking is considered one of the most effective ways to get in daily exercise minutes.REF#2308 Walking is also a low-intensity exercise that practically any healthy adult (without physical limitations) can do. 

Workouts for a Healthy Lifestyle

If you’re just beginning your exercise journey, start small, with a ten-minute brisk walk daily or a short cycle on your lunch break. Once you’ve built up some intensity, you can switch to higher-intensity exercises. 

If time is an issue, high-intensity interval training could be a solid solution.REF#2309 This type of moderate exercise helps you get to your target heart rate faster by having you perform short, explosive movements quickly, followed by a short rest period. REF#2309 That means if you only have 15 minutes to exercise, you can still get your heart rate up and enjoy the heart-healthy benefits of aerobic exercise.REF#2309

What About Strength Training?

We’ve known for a long time that cardiovascular movement is important for heart health. Still, a recent meta-analysis of ten studies concluded that we also need strength training to keep our hearts healthy in addition to cardio exercise.REF#2310

The study found that the mortality rate of people who engaged in physical activity, including strength training, was reduced by 15 percent.REF#2310 Even more interesting, the results were consistent even if the person discontinued strength training at some point. It appears as though the results of strength training on the heart are lasting.REF#2310

Whether you choose moderate-intensity exercise or resistance training, making your regular exercise routine consistent and varied will help support your heart health goals. 

3. Maintain a Healthy Weight

If you find yourself five pounds heavier each year, you could be setting yourself up for heart failure.REF#2311 That statement might sound shocking, but the research is solid. Individuals with a body mass index (BMI) that places them in the obese range have more risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease than people with a BMI within a healthy range.REF#2311

In addition to being at higher risk for heart disease, carrying excess weight, especially around the midsection, is associated with metabolic syndrome, a precursor to heart disease. REF#2305 Obesity often goes hand-in-hand with other detrimental health conditions, like hypertension, higher cholesterol levels, and a sedentary lifestyle.REF#2311

If your body weight places you in an unhealthy range, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by taking steps towards healthy weight loss. Combining a healthy diet with an exercise routine will help you lose weight and feel better while protecting your heart and making your healthcare provider happy. 

4. Manage Stress

Feeling stressed? If you don’t take steps to manage stress in a healthy way, it could lead to heart problems.REF#2312 Chronic stress, or stress that lasts more than a few weeks, can predict the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, according to studies.REF#2312 

It isn’t always easy to deal with stress and worry. If you find yourself continually feeling the burden of life, try some stress-relieving techniques to help relax you. 

Yoga or Meditation

Using yoga or mindfulness meditation practices can help you destress and even check the physical activity box, depending on the type of yoga you practice. These types of exercises help you focus on deep breathing, staying present-minded, and connecting to your body to notice where you may be holding stress physically and mentally. 


Talking to someone, like a trusted friend or therapist, can help you find support during stressful times and can help you feel as though you have a team to tackle your problems. 

5. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is vital to your well-being, and it’s also important to your heart health. Several studies have made an association between insomnia and a higher occurrence of cardiovascular disease.REF#2313

Most adults need between seven and nine hours of good, quality sleep per night. Missing out on this sleep creates a sleep debt, which can only be satisfied by (you guessed it) getting more sleep. Sleep debt is cumulative, so missing one night of sleep isn’t as easy as sleeping the next night; your body will still be behind and need additional sleep to catch up. 

Not getting proper sleep can lead to unhealthy blood pressure levels, which can also increase your risk of heart problems.REF#2313

6. Support Your Heart Health With Herbal Supplements 

Once you’re on the move towards a heart-healthy lifestyle, you’ll probably be looking for additional ways to keep your heart as healthy as possible. There’s no shortage of herbal solutions to help support a thriving cardiovascular system. 


An ancient herb that has long been used for supporting heart health is Hawthorn. This tree produces leaves and berries that have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.REF#2314 You can find its heart-loving ingredients in Hawthorn Supreme. Taking this supplement daily is a great addition to your health stack. 

Olive Leaf

Packed with polyphenols and antioxidants, Olive Leaf helps support your heart and your immune system. Antioxidants work to support your cell health during exposure to free radicals.REF#2314 Free radicals can damage healthy cells, which can lead to disease.REF#2314

Antioxidants can help keep your cells in tip-top shape when these harmful molecules are around, thus working to maintain your wellness.REF#2314 Olive Leaf is one of our best sellers for supporting natural immunity. 

Reishi Mushroom

Associated with longevity and heart health, Reishi Mushroom is traditionally used for numerous purposes, including immune support. Our Reishi is also used to support overall health and wellness. 

Green Tea

Did you know you could take Green Tea in supplement form? You can! Our Green Tea capsules support healthy weight and energy levels, which can translate into better heart health.

Happy Hearts

Taking care of your heart just got a lot easier. In addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting adequate rest, exercising, and eating properly, you can bolster your heart health with adaptogenic herbs from Gaia. 

We all want to live as long as possible and enjoy our health while enjoying life. Take steps to care for your heart and support your overall wellness.


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