This was a truly fascinating article on Dr. Mercola’s site talking about the real cause of heart attacks. We constantly hear about the dangers of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. In truth, balance is the key!
The part of the article that was most interesting to me was where he talked about the importance of balancing the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (restoring, healing) branches of your immune system. This brief video explains the functions of both branches:
You can read the entire article if you choose to so I won’t go into detail, but the bottom line for me was that if your parasympathetic branch is balanced, healthy and functioning well, even if you experience a shock of some sort that activates the sympathetic system, you won’t have a heart attack. It is only when there is a decrease in parasympathetic function.
“So what is the sequence of events that leads to a heart attack? First comes a decrease in the tonic, healing activity of the parasympathetic nervous system—in the vast majority of cases the pathology for heart attack will not proceed unless this condition is met. Think of the person who is always pushing himself, who never takes time out, who has no hobbies, who constantly stimulates the adrenal cortex with caffeine or sugar, who does not nourish himself with real food and good fats, and who does not incorporate a regular pattern of eating and sleeping into his daily life. Then comes an increase in the sympathetic nervous system activity, usually a physical or emotional stressor. This increase in sympathetic activity cannot be balanced because of chronic parasympathetic suppression.”
So it seems only wise that we should look for ways to nourish and protect our parasympathetic system.
Here are 5 effective ways:
1. A nutritious, whole food diet high in heart healthy fats and fat-soluble nutrients, and low in processed carbs and sugars;
2. Regular, periodic chiropractic adjustments can be life-saving by restoring balance to the central nervous system;
3. Practicing an attitude of gratitude. According to one expert in this area, the healthiest state is encountered only rarely as it occurs only in spiritually developed people who live most of their lives in a state of peace, gratitude and contentment.
4. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing, which slows heart rate, also stimulates your healing parasympathetic nervous system.
5. Practice mindfulness – focusing only on the present moment which helps restore the proper balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems by increasing the activity of the latter, creating a feeling of calm and relaxation.
Are you experiencing balance in your nervous system or do you think one branch is more often stimulated than the other?
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