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Taking Heart: Heart Health Awareness Month In New Zealand

February marks Heart Health Awareness Month in New Zealand, a time dedicated to raising awareness about cardiovascular health and educating individuals on how to reduce the risk of heart disease. As the leading cause of death worldwide ischemic, cardiovascular diseases claim the lives of millions of people across the globe annually. However, the good news is that many risk factors associated with heart disease are modifiable, meaning we have the power to reduce our risk through lifestyle changes and proactive measures. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the known risk factors for heart disease, explore how to adopt healthier habits to mitigate these risks, and discuss potential supplements that may support cardiovascular health.

Key Takeaways

  • Every February, New Zealand marks Heart Health Awareness Month to increase recognition of heart disease
  • The Heart Foundation is key during this month, arranging events like Big Heart Day and promoting healthy habits to reduce the risk of heart disease
  • By understand the risk factors for heart disease we can implement some lifestyle changes to reduce these, including staying active, quitting smoking, managing stress and even looking after our oral health
  • Natural health supplements can also support a healthy diet and lifestyle to reduce risk factors

Understanding Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Heart disease encompasses various conditions that affect the heart’s structure and function, including coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and heart failure. While some risk factors for heart disease, such as family history, are beyond our control, the majority are influenced by lifestyle choices. This has been discovered as part of the work being done in a field called epigenetics.  Common risk factors include:

  1. Poor Diet: Consuming a diet high in inflammatory vegetable and seed oils, refined carbohydrates, sugary beverages and ultra-processed foods increases the risk of heart disease.
  2. Physical Inactivity: Lack of regular exercise weakens the heart muscle and impairs circulation. Sedentary lifestyles contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, and abnormal lipid levels, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
  3. Smoking: Tobacco smoke contains numerous harmful chemicals that damage blood vessels, reduce oxygen delivery to tissues, and promote the formation of arterial plaques. Smoking significantly elevates the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular complications.
  4. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Elevated blood pressure forces the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body, causing strain on the arteries and increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems.
  5. High Cholesterol: Excess small dense LDL cholesterol particles in the blood can accumulate in arterial walls, forming plaques that narrow the arteries and restrict blood flow to the heart. This condition, known as atherosclerosis, is a major contributor to heart attacks and strokes.
  6. Obesity and Diabetes: Obesity and type 2 diabetes are closely linked to heart disease, as they often coexist with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance to contribute to ‘metabolic disease’ all of which contribute to cardiovascular complications

Promoting Heart Health Through Lifestyle Changes

  1. Eat a Balanced Diet: Focus on consuming a variety of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Limit intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and foods high in trans fats. The Mediterranean Diet and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) are recommended here for their focus on wholefoods, healthy fats and removing ultra processed foods. Whole foods that are naturally red in colour are also great for our cardiovascular health (mother nature is so clever!): beetroot, berries, pomegranate, watermelon etc
  2. Stay Active: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. Incorporate activities like walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or dancing into your routine to strengthen your heart and improve circulation. If you’re not able to do this yet, start small with exercise ‘snacks’ throughout the day, each time you put the jug on do a few bench presses on the kitchen bench, some gentle squats or even a few star jumps! They all add up. Check out the ideas in this video:
  3. Quit Smoking: If you smoke, seek support to quit smoking immediately. Quitting smoking dramatically reduces the risk of heart disease and improves overall health.
  4. Manage Stress: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as breathwork, meditation, EFT tapping, yoga, or engaging in hobbies to promote relaxation and emotional well-being. These kinds of practices have a real physiological effect on the body. Check out our blog on Natural Stress Support for more tips.
  5. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Body mass index (BMI) was a previous measure used to determine a healthy range, however it falls short for many reasons, so consider your waist circumference measurement instead as this can be an indicator of the amount of abdominal or visceral fat you are carrying. Having excess weight in this area can be a risk factor for heart disease as it means your body is storing fat to protect your organs. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight reduces the strain on your heart and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  6. Focus on your oral health! Oral health is increasingly recognised as an important factor in cardiovascular health. An imbalance of bacteria in the mouth can cause inflammation in the body, impact blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attacks. If you suffer from gum disease or tooth decay, consider addressing this by brushing regularly, cleaning between your teeth using water flossing or coconut oil pulling to ensure food is not stuck and causing problems, and getting rid of your mouth wash! Mouth washes contain strong alcohol and chemicals that destroy the natural healthy bacteria in your mouth, can actually cause cavities, and can negatively impact your gut microbiome and overall health.

Supporting Heart Health with Supplements

Delving into the realm of dietary supplements reveals promising allies for cardiovascular well-being, and our exploration will unveil how certain products may bolster heart health.

O2B Circulation+ for Supporting Healthy Blood Flow

O2B Circulation+ stands out as a go-to supplement for those wanting focusing on heart health and blood flow. It’s expertly formulated to support healthy circulation, using natural ingredients like ginger, ginkgo, cayenne and garlic, all well known for the support they provide the cardiovascular system.

Hawthorn has been extensively studied for its actions supporting myocardial contraction, blood flow and stroke volume, and protection against myocardial tissue damage. This plant is often used to support people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and those showing signs of heart disease.

Improved circulation means oxygen and nutrients travel more efficiently through the bloodstream, reaching the organs that depend on this vital lifeline and supplying energy to muscles and the brain for optimal function and performance.

O2B Co-Q10 for Heart Energy Support

Just as enhanced blood flow is crucial for cardiovascular health, so too is sustaining the heart’s energy levels. O2B Co-Q10 plays a pivotal role in this, supplying energy to support the heart’s muscular functions and supporting endothelial function. Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring substance that cells use to produce the energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance.

Heart specialists often point out how Co-Q10 levels can diminish with age and stress, which may impact heart performance. Replenishing these critical levels with O2B Co-Q10 could be beneficial for maintaining your ticker’s robust rhythm and overall vitality.

Regular consumption of this targeted supplement may support heart muscle energy, cardiac function, and contribute to better cardiovascular health.

O2B Garlic for Cardiovascular Health

Garlic is an ancient ally for heart health. Packed with properties known to support the cardiovascular system, this supplement is a convenient way to consume garlic regularly without having to deal with the smell and taste from your kitchen!

The well-documented benefits of garlic mean that incorporating O2B Garlic into your daily regimen may reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, and is a great addition to a balanced, healthy diet and lifestyle.

O2B Omega 3 Fish Oil:

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have anti-inflammatory and antiarrhythmic properties. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to lower triglyceride levels, reduce blood pressure, and decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. O2B Omega 3 Fish Oil 1500mg soft gels are odourless and tested for mercury to provide an excellent source of EPA (270mg) and DHA (180mg) per soft gel.

Before incorporating any supplements into your routine, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have existing medical conditions or are taking medications, as supplements can interact with certain drugs and affect health outcomes.

Conclusion: The Importance of Heart Health Awareness Month in New Zealand

Endeavour to take heart health into your own hands this February (and beyond!) by taking proactive steps to reduce the risk of heart disease. By adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management, and avoiding tobacco use, individuals can significantly improve their heart health and overall well-being. Additionally, under the guidance of healthcare professionals, certain supplements like Garlic, CoQ10 and Omega 3 Fish oil may offer supplementary support. Let’s empower ourselves and our communities to make heart health a priority today and every day.


1. What is Heart Health Awareness Month in New Zealand?

Heart Health Awareness Month in New Zealand is a time dedicated to educating the public about the importance of maintaining a healthy heart and preventing heart-related illnesses.

2. How can I learn more about improving my heart health during this month?

You can improve your heart health by following the actionable guidance in this blog like eating healthier and exercising regularly. You can also come in and talk to us at O2B Healthy to see what other lifestyle improvements or supplements may help to support you.

3. How do I introduce supplements into my heart healthy routine?

It is best to consult your healthcare professional before introducing supplements into your daily routine because they may interact with drugs you may be on.

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* Disclaimer: Information on this website is for your general knowledge only. It is not intended to replace qualified medical advice nor intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Do not disregard medical advice or postpone consultation with your health care professional because of information that you have read on this website. Always consult your doctor or other qualified health care professional regarding a medical condition. Always read the label of any natural health products you purchase and use only as directed. Consult a health care professional if symptoms persist. Customer reviews reflect individual experiences and results may vary.

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