The human heart is about the size of a clenched list.
It is located under the breastbone between the lungs
(just left of centre) and is made up of four chambers.
Blood flows through these chambers in a pattern that
supplies all parts of the body with oxygenated blood
and returns blood to the lungs for reoxygenation.
There are two types of blood vessels : arteries and
veins. Arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart
and are elastic, which enables them to withstand the
pressure of blood being pumped with great force.
Veins carry blood back to the heart. By the same time
blood reaches the veins, blood pressure has dropped.
Veins are not elastic, but have small valves that keep
the deoxygenated blood from flowing backwards.
When kept healthy and strong, the body's network
of veins and arteries should work as efficiently in an
older body as a younger one.
The body's ingenious design means skin, muscle
and a sturdy ribcage protects the heart from injury.
The real risk to the health of our heart comes not from
injury, but from failing to take proper care of this
vital organ. However, maintaining a healthy heart is
relatively simple, and it is never too late to start.
The first question is : Do you smoke ? If you do,
the first step is to quit. Even occasional smoking has
been proven to be detrimental to the health of your
heart. Regular exercise is essential to help maintain
weight and keep the heart strong. It is, after all, a
muscle. It is also important to limit fats in the diet,
particularly animal fats derived from meat and full-fat
Enjoying health to a ripe old age is common in
many Mediterranean communities where diet is
based on olive oil, vegetables, fish, nuts, fruits, grains
and pulses. Many doctors and naturopaths believe
that it is the low levels of cholesterol that make the
Mediterranean diet an excellent model for those
wishing to maintain their cardiovascular health.
Keep your heart strong with exercise. It has
proven that exercise is extremely important for the
maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular system. In
addition to keeping the heart itself strong, exercise
helps maintain a healthy weight, which reduces pressure on the heart. You don't
need to become a gym junkie. A brisk 30-minute walk at least three times a
week can make a huge difference to your health.
Supplement CoQ10 occurs naturally in the body and levels decline with
age. A CoQ10 supplement assists in maintaining a healthy heart, in
particular the function of the heart muscle. It has also been shown to
reduce oxidation of LDL cholesterol.