It's been a wake up call, to say the least. I have a pretty good diet, usually eat pretty low saturated fats, almost always choose whole grains, careful with sweets and even grow my own organic vegetables. Clearly there is room for improvement. Living in the city I do a fair amount of walking but I realize I need quite a bit more exercise and plan on joining my local Y.
Aside from those changes I've also added some heart healthy herbs. I'd heard about Hawthorn Berry (Crateaugus oxycanthus) many years ago on one of the many weed walks I've attended in Prospect Park. I've known of its action of regulating blood pressure so took another look at it. It's used to promote the health of the circulatory system and treats angina, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia. It's known to strengthen the heart and is used widely in Europe as a safe and effective treatment for the early stages of heart disease. It's ability to strengthen blood vessels makes it particularly enticing to me as I'm now on meds to thin my blood (to ensure that the stent works its wonders). Bruising and small cuts are going to be an issue so strengthening my capillaries is especially important.
There are other herbs including bilberry, horse chestnut and ginkgo that are known for improved heart health but considering the meds I'm taking I decided to keep it simple. Every winter I drink oatstraw daily so I've combined the two together with a little horsetail. Oatstraw is great for your nerves, it lowers cholesterol and helps strengthen bones. I simmer the herbs in a quart of water for ten minutes and drink three cups throughout the day.
Last fall I collected wild hawthorn berries and tinctured them so I'm happy to have tincture handy in case I can't be fussing with the tea. It's available at my Etsy store here.
I should mention that you should check with your doctor before starting any herb regimen, especially if your health has already been compromised and you're taking medication. Better safe than sorry!