Food – The Heart

The heart is an amazing organ. For perfect circulation, a strong heart is needed to pump blood to every organ and cell of the body. To support heart vitality, an understanding of its physiology is necessary. “Since the mind and the soul find expression through the body, both mental and spiritual vigor are in great degree dependent upon physical strength and activity; whatever promotes physical health, promotes the development of a strong mind and a well-balanced character. Without health, no one can as distinctly understand or as completely fulfill his obligations to himself, to his fellow beings, or to his Creator. Therefore the health should be as faithfully guarded as the character. A knowledge of physiology and hygiene should be the basis of all educational effort.” Child Guidance, 360, 361.

To understand the heart we need to look at its structure. The heart is located below the ribs and in the middle left side of the chest and is approximately the size of each individual’s doubled up fist. The heart, a sophisticated pump, pumps about 100,000 times moving approximately 7,000 quarts of blood per day. Exercise can increase the output up to 6 times. The pumping phase is 1/3 and the resting phase is 2/3 of the heart cycle. The heart has 4 chambers comprising 2 sets of pumps, one pumping blood to the lungs and the other larger pump, sending blood to the body. The pump is assisted in its function by 4 valves that prevent blood from leaking backward during the pumping and resting phases. The pumping action is initiated by electrical pacemakers and pathways that carry the signal to all parts of the heart.

Arteries, capillaries, and veins compose a system of tubes that carry the pumped blood to the body. The arteries and veins have an outer tissue covering, a muscular layer, and an inner layer. The muscular layer is much thicker in the arteries which carry oxygen rich blood from the heart than in the veins which carry oxygen poor blood back to the heart. The capillaries, located between the arteries and veins are very small, thin tubes which allow the oxygen, nutrients, and waste products to exit and enter the tubes. This complex system of tubes is called the circulatory system. Although all arteries are important, the coronary arteries which carry blood to the heart are critical. If the heart muscle does not have a rich supply of blood, it is damaged, and its ability to function is hindered. There are about 100,000 miles of tubes in our circulatory system and it takes only 15-20 seconds for the blood to go through this entire system. “Perfect health depends upon perfect circulation.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 89.

According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, heart disease is the number one worldwide killer of adults. It is responsible for 40 percent of all deaths in the United States, more than all forms of cancer combined. Heart disease is closely related to lifestyle decisions (diet, smoking, obesity, sedentary and stressful lifestyle) and other factors (family history, blood pressure, age, sex, and diabetes).

Prevention of heart disease is far better than needing treatment so choose a lifestyle to promote a healthy heart by forming healthy habits and teaching them to our families. Is it any wonder that the Lord says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23.