February is Heart Health Month. When we think of nutritional supplements that support a healthy heart, we tend to think of things like omega-3s and coenzyme Q10. While those supplements can be extremely beneficial, unfortunately we seem to forget about another contributing factor to many cardiovascular issues — stress.
There are many studies that suggest a large correlation between long-term stress and certain cardiovascular issues. These studies show that stress can have a negative impact on blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.
We all have stress in our lives, and we can become accustomed to it very quickly. But just because stress has become a regular part of our daily lives doesn’t mean that it isn’t still able to negatively affect many parts of our bodies, including our cardiovascular system.
If stress is a normal part of our lives, then what do we do about it? First, try to identify the stressors in your life and actively try to reduce them as much as you can. There are always stressors that we can’t really change, like work, school and certain family issues. Even though the situations may not be able to change much, we can supplement our stress levels with herbal supplements called adaptogens.
Adaptogens are herbs that support our adrenal glands and may be able to assist our body in the way it responds to stress. If you haven’t heard the word adaptogen, there is a good chance that you’ve heard the names of some adaptogenic herbs. Some of the most popular adaptogens are ashwagandha, holy basil and rhodiola. Although these herbs can be taken on their own, I suggest starting with a combination supplement containing a few of these stress-supporting herbs. Adaptogenic supplements are usually best if taken two to three times per day, so look for a daily formula as well as an evening formula if possible.
Realistically, there is no way to eliminate all the things that cause us stress, but if we can support our body’s response to daily stressors, then our hearts and our minds will be appreciative.