How to Prevent Heart Disease – Be Heart Smart!

Does heart disease run in your family? It is common for people with heart disease to ignore the problem and their doctor’s advice about how to improve their heart health. Maybe they have more pressing concerns. Maybe they do not understand the consequences of doing nothing. Maybe they are relying on prescription drugs to solve the problem. Taking prescription drugs can certainly help, but they do not get at the “heart” of the problem.

Obesity Diet AmericaThe problem is that the American lifestyle makes us susceptible to heart disease: high stress, easy access to non-nutritious foods, long work days that do not give us much time to exercise. It is a challenge to prevent and reverse heart disease, but it can be more easily faced when we learn to take control of our own health.

Heart disease can include high blood pressure, plaque in the arteries, and high cholesterol, among other things. Despite being often reversible and despite knowing so much about prevention and treatment, heart disease is still the #1 killer of both men and women.

Heart Attack SignsAccording to the American Heart Association’s most recent data, 1 out of every 3 Americans has heart disease. One of the first things we can do for our own health is to learn what our own risk is and what we can do to decrease it.

Most of us are familiar with the various risk factors for heart disease. Some we cannot control: older age, male gender, and family history of heart disease. However, most risk factors we can prevent or reverse: diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, high stress, and tobacco use. Research has shown again and again that diet and lifestyle changes can have a positive effect on these controllable risk factors in as little as 6 weeks.

Taking care of our hearts should be part of our daily routine. The prevention and treatment of any disease should always start with diet. In general, a whole foods diet is best for heart disease. This diet should be high in fiber, low in saturated fats, and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Daily exercise is known by most to help prevent and treat heart disease, but very few of us actually do it. Supplementing nutrients, herbs, and antioxidants is not always necessary but can speed the process of change and offer some additional protection.

Sometimes people who have made diet and lifestyle changes and tried various supplements are still not able to decrease their risk factors for heart disease. For these people, there is often an underlying cause that is seemingly unrelated. It may be time for a new approach and Naturopathic doctors are trained to look for those underlying causes. They will consider medications, hormone imbalances, sluggish digestion, food intolerances, and heavy metal toxicities as possible contributors to heart disease. For most people, changing risk factors for heart disease can happen in as little as 6 weeks. Yet people struggle and worry for years without getting on a total program to improve the health of their hearts. There is so much that you can start doing today! Ask questions of your doctor until you understand your personal health situation. Do your own reading and research into the subject. Start trying new recipes. And most importantly, make a commitment to choose healthy daily lifestyle changes to prevent heart disease!


Lisa OwThis article is written by Lisa Ow.  Lisa Ow is a practicing Naturopathic Doctor and a Health and Wellness Educator for the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Prescription Drugs – Mind/Heart Wisdom

Do we use abuse prescription drugs? Can we reduce the incidence of prescription drug use and drug abuse in our country? Are there other alternative and holistic health options besides prescription drugs?

Buon pomeriggio, friends and health enthusiasts!

Today mind/heart wisdom, drug use, pain and stress relief is the MBHA topic and focus. Although this is a time to be grateful and filled with love, holiday shoppers can be seen frantically grabbing  hot deals, and family members can overeat, overwork, lose their tempers, and experience pain and fatigue. It’s a reminder that holiday stress often brings aches and pains, financial worries and debt, and drugs are often the chosen remedy and quick fix.  Using the mind/heart wisdom is so important during these times. Let’s check out some current statistics about the drug dilemma here in the United States.

Here are a few startling facts.

Prescription Drugs

Click to enlarge photo, and copy and share with friends. According to a recent report by the NIDA, 25% of adults who started abusing prescription drugs at 13 years of age or younger met clinical criteria for addiction later in life.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), unintentional death from overdose of opioids has quadrupled steadily since 1999 and now outnumbers those deaths from heroin and cocaine combined.  Between 1991 and 2010, prescriptions for stimulants increased from 5 million to nearly 45 million and for opioid analgesics from about 75.5 million to 209.5 million, or about 36% increase.

The medication most frequently abused is pain relievers.

Out of the more than seven million people abusing prescription drugs, more than five million people abused pain relievers in the past year.

The good news is that while cannabis use has risen in the United States, prescription drug abuse among youth and adolescents has dropped in the past year, but prescription drug abuse and death from prescription drugs, still remains a major concern. Social, emotional and mental stress, physical injuries, acute and chronic illnesses, environmental toxicities, poor diet, lack of sleep, and other situations can cause severe body pain.

So what can we do?

The  often used phrase “Mind/Heart Wisdom” comes to mind. As a holistic health nonprofit,  it is the mission of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance (MBHA) staff and volunteers to share alternative and complimentary approaches to healing.  The list is long  (energetic healing, naturopathic, homeopathic, acupuncture, herbal remedies, yoga, Tai Chi, aromatherapy, essential oils, hypnotherapy, light therapy, music therapy, and much more, too numerous to name).

Certainly there are situations where prescription drugs are necessary.

A health education nonprofit, such as MBHA acknowledges each individual’s right to choose his or her way of healing.  Like many educational service organizations, we are  here as to offer solutions when one way has failed and a person is seeking other options. However, we as a nation and as a world, can choose to use Mind/Heart Wisdom.  We can choose to listen to that inner guidance and higher wisdom within each of us, to know how to care for our bodies.  Of course, that’s easier said than done. If we are deep in depression, Mind/Heart Wisdom is hard to hear.

Let us remember those 5 million people and make wise choices this holiday season. 

This holiday season, we at MBHA plan to continue to nurture and nourish ourselves and share this information with you, as a health education nonprofit.  When the head, knees and back are aching, we’re  going to try to listen to the Mind/Heart Wisdom and ask, “What can I do to love my body?”   Prescription drugs and pain killers are certainly important for the survival and comfort of many people around the world, yet there might be times when we can do some stretching exercises, change the diet, get more sleep, or visit an alternative therapist before considering taking more pain medications.  We invite you to share with us. Let us explore ALL health options, and listen and learn together on this journey in life.

Sending love and best wishes,
The MBHA Staff and Volunteers