Heart Health

"Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally, in men and women"

World Health Organisation

In an average lifetime, your heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times. That’s a huge amount of work for something that weighs only 8-10 ounces and is roughly the same size as your fist. It therefore goes without saying that the heart works incredibly hard each and every day, without us even noticing, yet its not until something goes wrong with our heart that we are suddenly aware of its huge and significance presence and importance.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the biggest killer in the world and include heart attacks, strokes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, angina and vascular dementia and there are many risk factors for the development of these diseases. You may be surprised to know that one such risk factor for cardiovascular disease is the environment that surrounds us, which has a big influence on the risk, progression and severity of  CVD.

Increasing scientific research shows that ecological factors such as sunlight exposure, altitude, day & night cycles and green spaces (I.e Nature),  all have an important impact on CVD risk. The natural environment and exposure to nature exerts a powerful influence on human health and that includes heart health.  It is this disharmony and disconnect with nature, which the modern world and modern living causes that scientists suggest to be one of the main reasons why CVD is more prevalent in modern and urbanised environments.

Nature doesn’t just provide a healing environment to maintain, support and improve heart health, but it also provides many botanicals that have been shown to have significant medicinal properties on heart health and that, in some cases, have even been shown to have a large role in prevention of  heart disease, by for example reducing risk factors such as lowering cholesterol levels and reducing high blood pressure and stress hormone levels.

Want a Healthier Heart? Then Step into Nature

Spending time outside in nature, is an excellent prescription for your heart. Not only does it reduce blood pressure and heart rate, but it also reduces stress hormones in the body such as adrenaline. People that actually live in more natural green environments, or spend a lot of time in them, have been shown to have lower stress hormones and more uniquely have also been shown to have enhanced ability to grow and repair blood vessels compared to people who live in more urbanised environments.

Adrenaline is the hormone often referred to as the ‘fight or flight’ hormone, so is released when we find ourselves faced with stressful situations that puts our body on high alert and which requires our body to react quickly and effectively.

However when we are anxious or stressed, our body also picks up on those feelings and can perceive it to be a ‘fight or flight’ situation when it isn’t. This causes  the release of adrenaline, which amongst other things increases heart rate and blood pressure. This is fine in the short term, but if  this stress or anxiety is prolonged, increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure, over the long term, puts extra stress on the heart that over time weakens it. If the heart is already weakened due to age or other CVD risk factors, then it is especially important to reduce stress and anxiety, which then reduces adrenaline release when it isn’t really needed and puts less stress on the heart.

Stepping out into nature and spending as much time in ‘green spaces’ has shown to strongly elicit an excellent heart health benefit and has a large part to play in helping prevent CVD.

"Nature never did betray the heart that loved her"

William Wordsworth

Garlic: One of the Best Natural Medicines


Garlic has been used by humans for over 7000 years and is one of the earliest recorded plants used by humans in the treatment of disease and the maintenance of health.

Some studies have shown that wild garlic in particular can elicit some greater effects than common garlic, especially when it comes to lowering blood pressure.

Find out more about foraging wild garlic in my free Ebook ‘The Four Seasons of Wild Nutrition’.

How YOU Can Make Healthy Heart, Wild Garlic Pesto


During the spring time, the floor of many woodlands and forests can be carpeted in wild garlic, the scent so strong you often smell it before you see it. Both its flowers and leaves are edible and rich in nutrients such as Vitamin A and C, iron and calcium. You can add to soups, salads, casseroles, drinks, but its just perfect and easy to make into pesto to eat with pasta, toast or add to sandwiches.

Recipe Ingredients

You will need:

150-200g Wild garlic leaves (you can also add some of the white garlic flowers too, which are also edible)

Juice of half a lemon & lemon zest

50g of toasted pine nuts (you can also use cashew nuts as an alternative for a slightly different & creamier taste)

50g finely grated parmesan cheese

1-2 cloves of garlic (this is optional but adds a deeper garlic flavour, you can also roast the cloves before adding)

100-150ml Olive oil

Pinch of salt & pepper

Recipe Method


Wash the wild garlic well and place in a food processor, or bowl if you are using a hand blender.

Add the grated parmesan, lemon zest & juice, olive oil, toasted pine nuts and garlic cloves, if adding, to the wild garlic and then blitz all together until a paste is formed and all ingredients are combined well.

If a little thick, add a little more oil or lemon juice until the consistency is as you would like.

Add the salt and pepper to taste.

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The Power of Hawthorn For Heart Health

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A Tomato A Day Keeps The Heart Doctor Away

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Garlic: One of the Best Natural Medicines

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Want To Make Your Own Ultimate Heart Tonic & Great Winter 'Pick Me up'? Read On To Learn How



How to Make a Medicinal Heart Healthy, Hawthorn Syrup


Brimming with antioxidants and Vitamin C, as well as B vitamins and many amino acids, these small red hawthorn berries have multiple health benefits, especially for your heart / cardiovascular and circulatory system (read more about the power of hawthorn for heart health).

Come the autumn and winter time, these bright red berries decorate the hedgerows and can easily be foraged to make this delicious medicinal recipe. Find out more about foraging hawthorn in my free Ebook ‘The Four Seasons of Wild Nutrition’ sent to you when you sign up to my newsletter here


1Kg of fresh hawthorn berries

2 tbsp Brandy (acts as a preservative like the sugar but is optional)

3 tablespoons of raw Honey

2.5 litres of almost boiling water

400-450g  unrefined sugar (to your taste preference, but it is needed to help preserve the syrup)

Large non-metallic pot (ideally an earthernware heat proof pot or similar)

Wooden spoon

Fine sieve & ideally muslin cloth

Glass bottle with lids (E.g Kilner jars)



Dust off your foraging basket in autumn and early winter and head out to forage the hedgerows and country lanes to collect some hawthorn berries (1 Kg).

Wash the haw berries well and place them in the non metallic pot and mash them well with a wooden spoon or other non-metallic utensil (not using metal is important as it helps to retain vitamin C content, which metal contact can reduce).

Pour the almost boiling water over the berries and simmer over a low heat for 25 minutes. 

Using the muslin cloth as a strainer, pour the hot liquid and pulp through the muslin cloth into a non-metallic bowl (glass bowl is fine). Discard the pulp and place the syrup liquid back into the heat proof bowl.

Add the sugar to the strained liquid and bring to the boil stirring well. After about 10-15 minutes the liquid should have reduced and formed a thicker syrup. At this point remove from the boil and leave to cool slightly. 

Once cooled , divide the mixture and pour into sterilized small glass bottles. Alternatively you can pour into ice cube trays and freeze in small cubes to defrost when required.