How to “weatherproof” your heart and lungs against winter attacks

The return of an El Niño weather pattern in the U.S. has made this winter especially brutal. And all that cold, snowy, blustery, wet weather has a big impact on your health.

So, today, as we continue to plow our way through more wicked winter weather, I’ll reveal the second half of my “Winter Survival Guide.”

We’ll start off with some do’s and don’ts for avoiding heart attacks…

HEART ATTACKS

Statistically, there are more heart attacks during the wintertime. That’s because cold, windy weather signals your body to retain heat by constricting blood vessels. And this reaction creates more resistance and puts a heavier workload on the heart.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself, no matter how low the temperatures dip…

DON’T:

Succumb to cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

I can’t say it enough — these drugs don’t prevent heart attacks. And — studies show they cause Type II diabetes, muscle pains, hepatitis, shortness of breath, severe itching, and even heart failure itself.

DO:

Follow a balanced diet.

As you know, I don’t endorse trendy, restrictive diets. But you should always make sure to avoid sugar, simple carbs, and processed foods. It’s one of the easiest ways to curtail the chronic inflammation that leads to heart disease, joint pain, and a laundry list of other health problems. I recommend following a Mediterranean-style diet with plenty of organic vegetables and fruits, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meat, full-fat dairy (like cheeses), and heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil and moderate red wine.

Take a seasonal stroll.

A leisurely walk on a sunny winter day can help improve your blood circulation and alleviate cold-weather stress on your heart and your mind. Ice skating, sledding, tobogganing, snowshoeing, and other winter activities (even building a snow person) are also a good idea, as long as you do them in moderation.

Use your head.

Reducing anxiety and stress is a major key for preventing cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.

So, this winter, you may need to rely more on mind-body techniques like biofeedback, guided imagery, mindfulness meditation, or yoga to boost your mental and emotional well-being. To discover which therapy works best for you, click here to take my Emotional Type quiz.

Supplement daily.

Studies show several key nutrients play important roles in protecting the heart. These include:

  1. Vitamin D, which can protect you from head to toe. When it comes to heart health specifically, it can lower blood pressure and inflammation, two of the biggest risk factors for heart attacks.  As I mentioned yesterday, I recommend taking 10,000 IU daily of D3 year-round.
  2. B vitamins, which play a key role in keeping your homocysteine levels in check. (Too much of this amino acid can cause chronic inflammation, and eat away at your arterial walls, creating spaces for blockages to collect and harden into calcified plaque.) I recommend taking a daily, high-quality vitamin B complex that contains at least 30 mg of B6, 800 mcg of folate, and 1,000 mcg of B12.
  3. Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, provides energy for your hard-working heart muscle, and can also help you maintain healthy blood pressure levels. I recommend 200 mg a day.
  4. Magnesium, is a key mineral that’s crucial for muscle and nerve function… including your heart muscle. It also relaxes your blood vessels, so your heart doesn’t have to pump as hard. I recommend 400 mg of magnesium citrate (the most bioavailable form) daily.
  5. Omega-3 fatty acids, most commonly found in fish oil, have been demonstrated to be extremely effective in lowering blood pressure and triglyceride levels.I talk more about this research, as well as tips for finding a quality fish oil and suggested dosages in the June 2018 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“Why I’m upping my recommendations for this “controversial” supplement”). For a majority of Americans, I recommend 4 to 5 grams of high-quality fish oil per day.

But your heart isn’t the only critical organ to face increased risk during the harsh winter months. Your lungs may also need some additional TLC — especially if you suffer from asthma.

SEASONAL ASTHMA

Asthma commonly flares in the dry, cold weather of winter. But studies show two natural approaches work even better than drugs in controlling flare-ups.

Here’s what I recommend…

DON’T:

Automatically reach for inhalers and other asthma drugs.

If you have chronic asthma, you may need these drugs. But why subject yourself to the side effects for short-term, cold-weather-related asthma? Instead of drugs, which only alleviate acute symptoms, natural remedies — like the ones listed below — can treat this condition at its source.

DO:

Get your daily D.

As I said a moment ago, you should already be taking vitamin D daily for cold, flu, and heart attack prevention. And here’s another great reason — it can help control asthma attacks.

In fact, as I reported in the December 2016 issue of Insiders’ Cures, a recent study found that vitamin D reduces the risk of emergency asthma attacks by as much as 60 percent. The researchers also suggest the vitamin may trigger antiviral and anti-inflammatory responses that decrease lung sensitivity.

Again, my recommendation is 10,000 IU of D3 year-round daily.

Consider acupuncture.

There’s a growing body of evidence that acupuncture is effective for relieving asthma symptoms. I wrote a full report on this compelling evidence in the May 2013 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“Ancient cure for COPD and asthma symptoms could make inhalers and drugs obsolete!”).

(Don’t forget: Newsletter subscribers have access to all my archives by logging into my website, www.DrMicozzi.com, with their username and password. If you’re not yet a subscriber, there’s no better time to get started than right now.)

As winter 2019 continues to drag on, print and refer to this guide to help you avoid some common health problems. And of course, I’d like to hear how my “Winter Survival Guide” worked for you. Feel free to drop me a line on my Facebook page.

P.S. Tune back in on Thursday for my report on what you should (and shouldn’t) do when you get a fever.


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