The Heart Of The Matter

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By: Giovanni Roselli Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers

As a former WWE professional wrestler with the moniker “Romeo,” you might expect me to give you some love and romance advice in the month of February. But a love doctor, I am not.

February is American Heart Month. What better way to show your significant other how much you care than to keep your heart—the most important muscle in your body—healthy.

Some statistics

Let’s take a look at some facts about heart disease:

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.

About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart disease, killing over 370,000 people annually.

Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen to people who have already had a heart attack.

I also want to bring up a thought-provoking study linking heart disease with excessively watching television. A recent research study found that people who spent hours watching television greatly increased the chances of dying early from heart attacks and strokes. Compared with those watching less than two hours of TV, people who sat in front of the TV for more than four hours a day were 80 percent more likely to die for reasons linked to heart and artery disease. I am not saying stop enjoying watching your favorite shows, but this goes back to a sedentary lifestyle leading to chronic symptoms.

I won’t belabor the fact that you need to exercise—you already know the importance of physical activity that goes along with a good heart. As a refresher, you can check out my Delray/Boca Newspaper article from September 2017, which discuss the importance of strength training. Furthermore, in the upcoming months I will be providing articles on topics such as the ill effects of sitting, as well as my non-negotiable fitness fundamentals.

Good eats

Besides exercise, let’s look at some foods we can eat that take care of the heart and blood pressure.

I recently sat down with Dr. Morrison, head of the Morrison Center in New York City and frequent Delray Beach visitor, to discuss how we can optimize our heart health. Here are some of his nutritional recommendations:

Celery: it helps lower blood pressure and is a great choice for a quick snack.  It is an excellent choice of antioxidants, in addition to vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and folate.

Garlic: ideally roasted or sautéed, it is also used as a blood-pressure lowering food.  Additionally, it is low in calories and very rich in vitamin C, vitamin B, and manganese.

Raw beets: they provide nutrients to enhance NO (nitric oxide) production, which is very helpful for improving circulation.   Dr. Morrison suggests shredded beat salad as a great way to eat raw beets.

Dark chocolate (>70 percent cacao): cacao is very high in anti-oxidants and nutrients to improve circulation and lower blood pressure.  A moderate portion of dark chocolate is a great way to enjoy cacao.

Parsley: it is a great natural diuretic and helps alleviate fluid retention.  You can use parsley as a garnish with all meals and also add it in soup recipes.

Before you run out to buy that box of candy for your significant other on the 14th make a good choice. You can still enjoy chocolate this Valentine’s Day but now you can be more specific with your selection and help you and your partner’s heart at the same time.  Everything in moderation of course.

Giovanni Roselli is the Regional Director Of Personal Training for Pur-Life Fitness Center located in Delray Beach. Originally from Westchester, NY, he graduated from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT double majoring in business administration and sports management. He is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and holds a nutrition certification with industry leader Precision Nutrition. His television appearances include NBC’s ‘Today Show’ and National Geographic’s ‘Brain Games.’