The Truth About Heart Health and Conditioning
By: Dr. Skip Hellen ND, CNC (Health Doctor)
The heart is among the most important organs in the human body.
Heart failure and cancer are the leading causes of death in America with cancer
recently overtaking heart disease as the number one killer. Because the heart is so
important, regular monitoring should be a priority for those who want to avoid
this so-called silent killer (heart disease). Regular monitoring requires
tracking personal blood pressure (BP) and resting pulse rate (RPR). Many use a
convenient wrist BP/RPR monitor device to monitor heart condition regularly.
When using a wrist BP/RPR monitor, it is extremely important to keep the
wrist/device at the same level as the heart during testing/monitoring to get
accurate blood pressure readings. Deviating above or below heart level will
likely yield an inaccurate reading thus defeating the purpose of monitoring. To
properly monitor and manage the heart, accurate data must be regularly obtained.
The heart is one of the strongest muscles in the human body because of its ability to work
continuously for a lifetime. It is widely accepted that resting pulse rate (RPR) is not only
a reliable indicator of longevity or life span but an excellent indicator of the general physical
condition of the heart. The slower the (RPR), the better physical condition of the heart. I
strongly agree with this hypothesis as I have tracked the progression of my (RPR) during training
programs and found that my (RPR) comes down as much as 30% in a few short weeks of specific
With such an easy to monitor and reliable indicator and enormous associated health benefits, why
wouldn't everyone want to lower their (RPR) to their minimum healthy rate by regular cardio
exercise? Below is a website that calculates the expected life span based on (RPR) and a
scientifically established amount of average human lifetime heart beats of 2.6 million.
Check your (RPR) with this life span calculator/estimator.
Life Span Calculator/Estimator
As you can see by using this web site, the lower the (RPR) number the longer the estimated
life span. If your (RPR) is 72, your life expectancy is 68.658 years. By contrast, if your
(RPR) is 42, your life expectancy is 117.699 years. In this example a lower (RPR) adds 49.041
or almost 50 years to a lifetime.
While the human body is not designed to live forever, it is designed to live healthy. In short,
it's programmed to maintain health. The answer to health and longevity is understanding the
body's requirements for health and provide them in a timely manner. It essentially boils down to
adopting a lifestyle which is in harmony with nature by continually supporting the bodies optimum
1. Proper Optimal Heart Health Nutritional Support
Proper nutrition means continuously providing all the necessary requirements for energy
production, tissue repair and maintenance. These requirements can be effectively managed by
habitual behavior and the quality and quantity of what is consumed. Our consumptive habits
can be a solid foundation on which ultimate health is formed or to frequently become the
foundation of rapid biological degeneration (aging), illness and disease.
The most heart damaging foods are excessive consumption of sugar, saturated fats and proteins.
Sugar has wide range of damaging effect on optimal heart health. Saturated fat clogs the arteries
forcing the heart to work much harder resulting in biological stress and damage. Excessive protein
such as animal products consumption like meat and dairy, produces excess acids in the blood
(homocysteine), another seriously threat to heart health. These problems can be very effectively
mediated or eliminated by reducing the animal based products in the dietary regimen. This includes all dairy and meat products. Consume a varied plant based
diet which is proven to be much healthier for heart health.
If one must consume meat, deep water fish and wild salmon is best. The most health damaging meats
are red meat, land animal like pork and beef because of their high levels of saturated fat. If
one must consume red meat, land animal leaner cuts are less damaging than fattier cuts.
Unfortunately, the most unhealthy land animal red meats are the most popular, tender and tastiest
cuts such as prime rib and pork.
Americans are becoming more aware of the importance of the heart and its role in overall health.
They also seem to be developing a better understanding of how dietary supplements and orthomolecular
protocols can be a valuable tool in the process of restoring optimal health. Recently, the US Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) approved heart health claims for several foods and supplements like
fiber and olive oil. Of course, many more dietary supplements have shown to promote cardiovascular
wellness but not yet approved by the FDA.
Some of the best foods & beverage for heart health are;
1. Avocado – Avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat. Avocados
can help lower LDL levels while raising the amount of HDL cholesterol.
2. Berries – Most berries are full of anti-inflammatory, which reduce risk
of heart disease and cancer.
3. Chlorella/Spirulina – These are blue-green alga and super-food. Some have discribed
these alga's and the most powerful food on earth. They may help reduce the risk of heart disease
by lowering acid and blood pressure levels among many other positive general health benefits.
4. Garlic – Garlic not only has positive digestive benefit properties it helps
lower high blood pressure.
5. Ginseng – There is strong scientific evidence that ginseng may help with
high blood pressure and improve cardiovascular function.
6. Green Tea – Reduces the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD).
7. Green leafy vegetables (spinach, chard, mustard greens etc.) – Most green
leafy vegetables are rich in chlorophyll, lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber.
8. Legumes ( black, kidney beans) – Most legumes are rich in omega-3 fatty acids,
calcium, and soluble fiber.
9. Nuts (almonds, walnuts) – Most nuts have omega-3 fatty acids, many have mono- and
polyunsaturated fat. Nuts also increase fiber in the diet.
10. Omega EFA’s – Flax seed, hemp seed and olive oil’s are excellent sources of plant
based EFA’s which helps reduce the risk of (CAD). Animal source EFA’s – wild fish such
as salmon are the best.
11. Oatmeal – Is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. This fiber-rich
super food can lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear.
Beyond foods, there are excellent food supplements that have been shown to
scientifically support the heart (list below).
Some of the best supplements for heart health are;
1. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) – Science has shown ALA to be a powerful antioxidant. When
used as a supplement in the form of a natural or synthetic isolate, can help prevents
cardiovascular risk factors such as LDL oxidation and high blood pressure.
2. Antioxidants – Antioxidants (Vitamin A, C, E etc.) not only reduce free radical
oxidative stress and damage to tissues in the body but inhibit the formation of arterial
3. Coenzyme Q-10 – Is perhaps the most beneficial supplement for the heart as it
significantly reduced blood pressure.
4. DHA/EPA omega-3 Oils - Omega-3 supplements not only balance the omega 3-6-9 fatty acid
ratio but provides many protective benefits for people at risk for developing cardiovascular
disease including reducing high blood pressure and the accumulation arterial plaque
5. Fiber – Dietary fiber (soluble & insoluble), protect against coronary heart disease
(CHD) and help prevent peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Fiber supplements can help keep blood
pressure within a 120/80 healthy range.
6. L-Arginine – L-arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that has been deemed an
excellent dietary supplement for cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, immune, liver, renal,
reproductive, and pulmonary functions. It improves endothelial function, which reduces incidence
of congestive heart failure (CHF). L-arginine is considered the most potent Nutraceutical ever
discovered, due to its enormously powerful healing properties. Dr. Louise Ignarro (1998 Nobel
Prize recipient in Physiology or Medicine) for discovered a "miracle molecule" l-arginine that
could make bypass surgery, angioplasty and blood pressure drugs obsolete. Dr. Ignarro found that
L-arginine converts to Nitric Oxide in the body which acts as a vasodilator (relaxes the blood
vessels). This Nobel Prize in medicine validated the remarkable healing properties of L-arginine.
7. L-Carnitine – A two amino acids (lysine and methionine) compound formed from,
L-carnitine has shown to be a viable tool for lowering cholesterol.
8. Lycopene – Dietary lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that has shown to significantly
reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in women.
9. Magnesium – Magnesium helps restore the healthy functioning of blood vessels. It also
helps people exercise longer, and recover quicker.
10. Potassium – Potassium aid in the transmission of electrical impulses in the heart
that regulate the heartbeat.
11. Resveratrol – Resveratrol is another powerful antioxidant may help protect heart
health by limiting the effects of cardiac fibrosis (hardening of the heart tissue).
12. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – Thiamine assists the cells with the conversion of
carbohydrates into energy and ensures that the muscles and nervous systems are in balance and
functioning properly. Deficiencies or biological imbalance can result in heart disease and
congestive heart failure.
13. Vitamin B6 (Folic Acid) – Helps reduce inflammation and homocysteine.
14. Vitamin B-12 – Is important for brain function, formation of blood and helps reduce
15. Vitamin C – Is a powerful antioxidant. Its properties help reduce or block oxidative
damage than can accelerate the aging process (biological damage) and increase the risk of
developing heart disease.
16. Vitamin E – Vitamin E serves to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and
Natural compounds that beneficial the heart are;
Phytosterols – Plant sterols that chemically resemble cholesterol. They have shown to
reduce blood cholesterol. All nuts and seeds, including wheat germ contain phytosterols.
Carotenoids – Powerful, heart and tissue protecting antioxidants associated with many
colorful fruits and veggies. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene are
Polyphenols – Another set of powerful antioxidants that help protect blood vessels,
lower blood pressure, and reduce LDL cholesterol.
Flavonoid polyphenols - Catechins, flavonones, flavonols, isoflavones, reservatrol, and
Non-flavonoid polyphenols - Ellagic acid (present in all types of berries).
Omega-3 fatty acids – Found in fatty fish like salmon.
Alpha-linolenic fatty acids (ALA) – Is a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in plants. It
helps boost the immune system, reduce blood clots, and protect against heart attacks. It also
increase good HDL, lower triglycerides, protect arteries from plaque buildup, are
anti-inflammatory, and lower blood pressure.
B-complex vitamins – Are very important for cardiovascular health.
Vitamin B-12 (folate) and vitamin B-6 – Protect against blood clots and atherosclerosis,
or hardening of the arteries.
Niacin (vitamin B-3) – Helps increase HDL "good" cholesterol.
Vitamins C and E – Are powerful antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage.
Magnesium, potassium, and calcium – Help lower blood pressure.
Fiber-rich foods – Helps lower cholesterol levels.
It is very important to understand that as humans’ age, the body becomes increasingly less able
to convert proteins consumed into muscle and tissue repair. This inability accelerates biological
damage and the aging process. L-arginine is one supplement that can help retard this age related
An obvious visible symptom of increased risk of heart disease and a host of other degenerative
problems is the presence of visceral, commonly referred to as midsection or waistline fat.
Visceral fat is fat that makes your belt size increase around the abdomen. Fat in this area is
an excellent indicator of internal fat surrounding the vital organs behind the waistline such as
the kidneys, liver, digestive organs, lungs and heart. For this reason, a shapely, thin waistline
is not only more attractive but is a reliable indication of superior health. Exercise is extremely
important for not only reducing visceral fat but also a wide range of illnesses and diseases
reduction including cardiopulmonary disease.
2. Stress Mediation
Excessive stress, particularly emotional stress is perhaps the most health destructive force in
the human body. As such, it must be properly managed to maintain optimal health. Stress has a
direct and immediate negative affect on blood pressure.
Proper deep breathing and meditation are very effective ways to manage stress and quickly lower
blood pressure. I can rapidly lower both my (BP) and (RPR) with proper deep breathing and a short
meditation session. Deep breathing and meditation are skills, once mastered yield both immediate
and enormous health benefits.
3. Regular exercise (lymph system modulation)
Exercise has wide ranging positive health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, strengthening
bones and all connective tissues, reduce cancer risk, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and
significantly reducing stress just to list a few.
Scientific research has repetedly shown that there are several mechanisms involved in
strengthening the heart and circulatory system through proper exercise. Exercise helps the
heart in the following ways.
1. Stimulates enzyme production and release which help transport low density lipoproteins
(LDL) from the blood to the liver where cholesterol is converted into bile for digestion or
2. Increases blood protein size which carry cholesterol through the blood. Protein size
and cholesterol are referred to as "lipoprotein." Excessive amounts of LDLs are linked to heart
disease. The small, dense proteins are more dangerous because the smaller proteins can lodge
into smaller places (linings of the heart and blood vessel walls) and set up shop (heart disease).
Exercise increases the size of the blood proteins which lowers the chance of vascular wall fat
(plaque) accumulation (arthrosclerosis, hardening of the arteries or heart disease).
3. Lowers inflammation by naturally lowering levels of a C-reactive protein (CRP) that is
one of the primary culprits in the inflammation process.
4. Increases oxygen uptake, reducing blood carbonic acid and toxicity while increasing
internal biochemical pH.
5. Increases load on tissues encouraging tissue repair.
Exercise need not be strenuous, but to produce noticeable benefits, regular is good frequent is
best. There are many different ways to exercise with equally as many opinions on what exercise
is best for heart health. The most commonly accepted exercise for heart health is cardio exercise.
The duration should be between 10-60 minutes 3-5 times a week. I have found that intense 10-20
minute running exercise sessions 3 times a week produce excellent results for me. While I am not
a competitive athlete, I believe this amount of regular exercise keeps me relatively close to
optimal cardio health with out taking unnecessary injury risks. Should I plan to compete or want
to raise my cardio conditioning, I'm within a couple of weeks of ultimate competition cardio
shape. I typically stretching first, do some pushups until failure, then squat thrusts to warm up
my whole body. Then I run for 10-20 minutes. This complete training routine includes moderate
impact upper and lower body exercises which aggressively modulates my lymphatic system which
moves significant amounts of biological waste out of my body (detoxifing me). Also, this exercise
routine increases respiration, oxygen uptake which reduces carbonic acid in the blood. Both of
these processes significantly reduces biological acid buildup and helps move internal biochemistry
back into a slightly alkaline and much healthier 7.0+ pH state.
The most common formula (no standard deviation) is below:
220 − age = Maximum Heart Rate
220 – 59 = 161 MHR
20-60 minutes, 3-5 times weekly
When it is inconvenient to get in a full training routine, I like to jump rope or do some
jumping jacks. Any kind of rebounding exercise is the best lymph system modulator. Short 2-5
minute rope jumping modulates the lymph system enough to help clean the body of biological
waste and toxins.
Rebounding and running are moderate impact exercises. For this reason one must be
vigilant to not
sustain injuries. Injuries can be enormously counterproductive to any training program.
Varying the exercise routine keeps the body biology confused, active and vibrant. Here are a few
different exercises one can employ.
1. Aerobic (cardio) – Running, jogging, jumping rope, elliptical machine, and fast walking
are all excellent examples of aerobic exercise.
2. Interval & interval anaerobic training – Research demonstrates that interval training
is the best way to condition the heart and burn fat is with alternate short bursts of
high-intensity exercise with relatively short recovery periods. Warning, the high-intensity nature of this
type of training substantially increases risk of injury, especially with older, less seasoned
and conditioned athletes. While this training can dramatically improve your cardiovascular
fitness and fat-burning capabilities, it is best to use it only after achieving excellent
condition and sparingly as age advances to avoid injury set backs.
3. Strength/resistance training – Do enough repetitions to fully exhaust the muscles.
The weight should be heavy enough to fully exhaust the muscle between 4-12 repetitions. Avoid
exercise the same muscle groups on consecutive days. Muscles usually require 2-3 days of rest
to recover, repair and rebuild between training depending on the extent of tissue breakdown
4. Core Exercises – The body’s core muscles are grouped in the back, abdomen and pelvis.
This group of muscles forms the foundation for movement throughout the entire body. Strengthening
these muscles, helps protect and support the back, make the spine and body less vulnerable to
injury and help with greater balance and stability. Pilates and yoga are examples of great core
muscle strengthening programs.
Finally, as humans age the muscles tend to atrophy faster so it is even more critical to adopt
a regular exercise program into a healthy lifestyle. Humans must be more disciplined and
diligent about exercise, as they age not less. If people don't find time for regular exercise
as age advances, nature will demand time for illness and disease. It is increasingly more
important to exercise as we age than when we are young because of biological degradation. The
body needs the movement to remain healthy. It is true; if you do not use it, you will loose
it. Slow the aging process with regular exercise and a generally healthy
4. Adequate air (oxygen)
As covered in exercise #3, adequate oxygen is a critical for optimal body and heart health.
I encourage people to take as many deep breathes daily as they can. Deep breathing can be
done almost anywhere. The benefits of deep breathing and meditation have long been recognized
as major tools to relax and reduce stress. Currently, deep breathing is becoming more recognized
as a optimal health tool to reduce blood acid, increase blood oxygen along with many more
biological and internal biochemical balancing benefits.
5. Adequate hydration (water)
As humans age, they tend to become more sedentary. Reduced activity begins to retard the
drinking/hydration response. It is estimated that more than 75% of Americans are living in
a dehydrated state. Not only is living dehydrated unhealthy but it encourages rapid biological
degeneration and significantly increases the risk of many illnesses and diseases.
The formula for re-hydration is 1 ounce of liquid daily for each 2 pounds of body weight,
Body Weight 200 X .5 = 100 ounces daily liquid consumption
The formula for hydration maintenance is more subjective in that it requires that one replace all liquids
lost daily. The accepted math formula is 0.35 ounces of liquid daily for each 2 pounds of body weight,
Body Weight 200 X .35 = 70 ounces daily liquid consumption
It is important to remember, never allow the body to become dehydrated. If it does, re-hydrate
immediately to reduce the enormous negative health consequences.
A healthy heart is the cornerstone of a healthy body. Regularly monitor heart vital signs, take
action if necessary to keep the heart in tip-top condition and it will serve you well for many long healthy years.
HELP! UHRI has produced optimal health step by step programs designed to guide you through all the
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"Illness and disease are
optional, choose not to participate" ~ Dr. Skip Hellen
It’s important to understand that optimal health can only
be achieved and maintained when nutritional, physical, and mental requirements
are met resulting in systemic biological balance (homeostasis).
The following are the cornerstones of success with anything
in life, make these qualities an important part of your life strategy and you
will achieve excellence in anything you do.
character requires personal
commitment advances positive
tenacity promotes success
~ Dr. Skip Hellen
OPTIMAL HEALTH ACTION STEPS
1. (Develop) a strong sense of self respect and discipline
2. (Pledge) Take the "Declaration of Health Independence" pledge
3. (Test) Complete the health assessment test (establish a personal health baseline)
4. (Decide) Set a goal to achieve personal health excellence (optimal health)
5. (Education) Learn health principles how to achieve optimum health
6. (Heath Compass) Buy a pH litmus test kit, start testing frequently – keep a test result log
7. (Manage/Adjust) Change behavior habits for best results
8. (Commitment) Stay the course until achieving personal health excellence
9. (Mentor) Help another achieve personal health excellence
Since behavior habits and nutrition are critical components of human health and longevity,
denial, shortcuts and misguided beliefs can be very costly not only in terms of lost monetary
wealth but in compromised health leading to rapid aging, illness, disease and death.
DON’T TAKE YOUR HEALTH FOR GRANTED. IF YOU DON’T TAKE PROPER CARE OF YOUR
HEALTH, WHO WILL?
The important thing to remember is consumptive habits (foods) will form the foundation of
either optimal health or illness and disease. The old saying "you are what you eat" is absolutely
true when it comes to health.
Developing strong personal character (respect, belief, knowledge, discipline, commitment)
are the cornerstones of all personal excellence accomplishments.
Taking the "Declaration of Health Independence" pledges and adopting the behavior principles
solidifies a vital first step on the road to optimal health success. These pledge
commitments not only help develop the skills required to accomplish the goal but better define
the path to personal health excellence. The second step is purchasing a litmus test kit to
accurately monitor health progress. (see below for event test kit sale)
Perhaps the hardest part of achieving optimal health is changing
unhealthy behavior habits to
YOU provide the Courage, Dedication, Commitment and Action,
UHRI will provide the EDUCATION/KNOWLEDGE and DIRECTION
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Secrets of Ultimate Health” and achieve personal health excellence goals, log onto the
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Sense proper health habits form the foundation
of human health and vitality, shortcuts and misinformation can be very
costly not only in terms of lost money but the pain and suffering of
compromised health and productivity, early biological degeneration,
illness, disease and death.
Proper Health Education and
Healthy Habits Form a
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