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Ayurvedic Tips For A Healthy Heart

Feb/04/2024 / by sweta-vikram

Strategies to keep your ticker thriving

Happy South Asian woman holding a bowl of fruit and listening to music
Photo via Shutterstock

We think of February as the “month of romance and love” thanks to Valentine’s Day promotions everywhere. But do we pause to reflect that February is also the month of heart health? What are we doing to protect this vital organ? 

I won’t get into the Ayurvedic details of how and why the heart matters and which doshas are responsible for structure or flow, nor will I talk about how western science views the heart. But I will remind you that the heart is considered the seat of consciousness in Ayurveda. It’s the organ that pumps blood, and it’s also the organ that experiences emotions. Stress will aggravate both the physical and emotional heart. Poor diet and lifestyle choices can wreak havoc on your heart.

We also know that an improperly functioning heart can change the narrative of our life story. I know this because neither of my parents had cholesterol, triglyceride, diabetes, drinking problems, unhealthy eating habits, inactive lifestyle, or any other kind of heart issues or “bad” habits. But in the end, their hearts failed them unexpectedly. I lost two friends from my boarding school to heart attacks—they were in their 40s. One died in his sleep and the other collapsed outside his house. My mausa (mom’s sister’s husband) died of a broken heart within a year of his wife’s passing. Broken heart syndrome is brought upon by stressful circumstances, like the death of a loved one. Mausa couldn’t handle my aunt’s death.

These stories are no exceptions. Most of us have lost someone we know to heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.[1]

Both modern medicine and Ayurveda agree that there are things we can do every day to keep our heart healthy.

Ayurvedic Recommendations For Heart Health

Eat Healthy And Mindfully

Start to include more fruits, whole grains, freshly prepared foods, lighter meals, and spices in your diet. Avoid alcohol, smoking, fried foods, and processed white sugar. Ayurveda recommends lunch be your biggest meal of the day. Let dinner be light and three hours before bedtime (at least).

A life of deprivation is what leads to bingeing. Unless there is an extreme health crisis, I tell my clients to follow an Ayurvedic diet 80% of the time. The rest 20% of the time, they are free to indulge in a bowl of ice cream or enjoy a glass of wine. 

Stress Less

There are the daily life stressors of job, family, school, children, relationships, and eldercare responsibilities. Stress also stems from overuse of the sensory organs, and it leads to a decrease in ojaswhich is responsible for immunity, life, vitality, and immunity. Have you noticed when you are extremely stressed, your immunity becomes weaker and you fall sick?

Cleanse Ama or Toxins

Ama is a toxic substance. Think of arterial plaque that develops in your blood vessels—that’s ama. You want to keep your mind-body clean to flush out ama. Eat nourishing meals, get into bed before 10 p.m., follow daily rituals, meditate regularly, and pay attention to what you consume—both food and words.

Exercise In Moderation

Not everyone needs to run a 10K to keep their heart healthy. But daily movement helps as it strengthens the heart muscle. Physical activity lowers the risk for heart diseases as well as stress. Exercise can help maintain a healthy body weight, better moods, reduce the risk of depression and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and lessen the chances of developing diabetes.

Sort Out Your Sleep Hygiene

There are three pillars of health in Ayurveda, and good sleep is one of them. The heart likes consistent sleep, according to some of the most recent research on sleep and heart health.[2]

When we sleep is when our mind-body has the chance to heal and repair. Research tells us that lack of sleep also promotes inflammation. Over time, poor sleep can also lead to unhealthy habits that can hurt your heart. Here are some Ayurvedic remedies to manage insomnia.

Honor Your Heart And Needs

Pay attention to your feelings and how other people make you feel. My mom would not communicate with those whose behavior upset her. Hurtful conversations can trigger the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. Mom kept it all bottled up inside. I truly believe that her unexpressed emotions also contributed to her untimely demise at 66 years.

Lean Into Your Dinacharya

The Ayurvedic morning routine is designed to maintain and connect us with our circadian rhythm or internal body clocks. Be it phone habits, waking up at a fixed time, or knowing when to pause and practice self-care, the importance of daily routines can’t be emphasized enough.  

Consider Ayurvedic Herbs For Heart Health

Arjuna works on blood plasma and lowers inflammation, guggul is good for scraping out cholesterol and ashwagandha can be a stress-reliever. Additionally, garlic can prevent cell damage, regulate cholesterol, and lower blood pressure, while cinnamon balances vata and kapha dosha while purifying the blood and acting as circulatory stimulant.

But don’t start popping Ayurvedic herbs after reading this article as plant medicines are potent and may interfere with your prescription medication. Always consult with an Ayurvedic doctor or Ayurvedic practitioner before you start taking any Ayurvedic herbs.

The word ‘hrudaya’ in Ayurveda is a synonym for heart in modern medicine. This February, why not take intentional steps to make your health healthy and strong with these Ayurvedic tips instead of relying on a holiday on February 14th to make your heart feel loved?

“Ayurveda is not just about treating diseases; it is about creating harmony in body, mind, and spirit.” ~ Dr Vasant Lad.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional. If you are looking for advice from a trained yogi and ayurvedic doctor, contact the author here.

[1] National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death 2018–2021 on CDC WONDER Database. Accessed February 2, 2023.