With health care costs rising to stratospheric levels, more and more people are turning to so-called “alternative therapies” to deal with a variety of ailments, from heart disease to Alzheimerís.
Approximately 40 percent of U.S. adults have used some form of alternative therapy, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What is alternative therapy?
Rose Kumar, M.D., medical director of the Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, says that alternative medicine is anything that doesnít fall under the traditional medical model of care. Examples include: acupuncture, massage, naturopathy, yoga, as well as dietary and lifestyle changes.
“People are hungry for alternative options because traditional medicine is so expensive and focuses more on symptom management,” Kumar says. “The idea of reversing disease and bringing regeneration and vitality to life isnít really considered in the traditional medical model.”
Practitioners of alternative therapies seek to treat not only the physical symptoms of an illness, but the emotional, spiritual, nutritional and social contributors to disease.
Alternative medicine for heart disease
When using alternative therapies to treat heart disease, Kumar says two main elements come into play: diet and stress management.
Study after study points to the cardiac benefits bestowed by a primarily plant-based diet.
Most recently, a nationwide analysis found that following a vegetarian diet could lower a person’s risk of having an adverse cardiac event by 32 percent.
According to Kumar, this research has helped people realize that expensive, invasive surgical interventions are not the only way to treat heart disease. These treatments, while beneficial for managing certain symptoms, didnít have the same disease-reversing capabilities are a heart-healthy diet.
Inflammatory foods (refined sugar, alcohol, red meat, trans fats) are the leading cause of coronary artery disease, Kumar notes in her book, “Becoming Real: Harnessing the Power of Menopause for Health and Success.”
“When you’re combating heart disease, diet should be emphasized. Eating needs to be easy, simple and fun,” she says.
Here are some of her diet tips:
- Divide your plate properly. Half should contain colorful, organic vegetables (spinach, kale, bell peppers); one quarter should contain organic proteins (beans, tofu, lentils, fish, chicken); and one quarter should contain organic, complex carbohydrates (wild rice, brown rice, pasta, quinoa).
- Snack on seeds, nuts and organic berries (especially blueberries and strawberries)
- Drink water and green tea. Coffee is okay in moderation.
- Quell sugar cravings with minimal amounts of dark chocolate
A note on herbal medicine
Certain herbs are thought to bestow heart health benefits including: Ginko (lowers blood pressure; increases circulation), Hawthorn berries (expands coronary arteries), and Ginger (cuts down on blood clotting and reduces cholesterol).
The scientific evidence behind these claims is minimal, so anyone considering herbal remedies should consult their doctor first.
Read on to discover the important role of stress-management for heart health…
Natural Heart Disease Treatments Offered By Alternative Medicine originally†appeared on†AgingCare.com.