February is Heart Month, so you’re probably hearing a great deal about what to do to keep your heart healthy. Eat this and not that, exercise more, get more sleep and reduce your stress level. This amazing organ works hard to keep us alive, so let’s take a brief look at what the heart and the rest of the cardiovascular system does for us, and what we can do to keep it running smoothly.

The cardiovascular system consists of the heart, blood vessels, and blood. It nourishes each body cell by transporting nutrients throughout the body. In fact, “cardio” refers to the heart, and “vascular” refers to the blood vessels.

The heart’s function is to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the blood vessels to every living cell in the body. The human heart is divided into four chambers - two on the right (right atrium and right ventricle) and two on the left (left atrium and left ventricle). Each chamber has a different function and each chamber of the heart has valves that close when the chambers push blood out. The sound of a valve closing is the sound of a “heartbeat”. Over a person’s entire lifespan, the heart must continuously beat by repeated, rhythmic contractions. If the heart stops beating, the body cannot function and will result in death. About the size of a person’s fist and weighing less than one pound, the heart is located between the lungs, slightly to the left side in the center of the chest. Depending on what you read, a healthy human heart beats on average 72 beats per minute, functions as a double muscular pump, pumps almost 2,000 gallons (approx. 7,500 liters) of blood every day, and during an average lifespan of 70 years, the human heart will beat more than two and a half billion times and will have pumped enough blood to fill over 100 full-sized swimming pools!

Blood vessels are broken down into three groups: arteries, veins, and capillaries. The arteries are vessels leading from the heart to the capillaries. Arteries form networks that include many different-sized vessels. They are designed to expand and contract with each beat of the heart and carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The largest artery, called the aorta, is approximately one to one and a half inches in diameter. Veins are the vessels leading from the capillaries to the heart. They are designed to allow the blood to flow in only one direction carrying oxygen-poor and carbon dioxide-enriched blood back to the heart. Capillaries are the smallest vessels measuring only about four micrometers in diameter. They connect the arteries and veins. They transfer oxygen and other nutrients into the cells and remove the carbon dioxide and other metabolic waste produced by the cells. As a matter of fact, if all the blood vessels in an adult human body were connected together, they would be about 80,000 miles in length!

Blood performs many important functions within the body. Some of these functions include: supplies the cells with oxygen and nutrients, remove waste from cells, regulates body temperature, regulates pH balance, serves a protective function by clotting to prevent blood loss, and serves as a carrier for various disease-fighting cells such as the white blood cells. About 5 to 6 liters of blood flows through the human body.

The cardiovascular system provides nourishment and oxygen to the body’s organs, tissues and cells allowing them to perform their many functions. It’s crucial to protect the cardiovascular system from damage to ensure it is functioning as best as possible. To keep the cardiovascular system healthy it is essential to eat a balanced diet rich in whole grains, vegetables and healthy fats while limiting (or eliminating) foods high in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium. Regular exercise, reducing stress, and a healthy lifestyle are also major contributors to heart health. In addition, adding a dietary supplement such as AIM CellSparc 360® can help support and maintain cardiovascular health.

When it comes to your heart and cardiovascular system, have a heart and treat it with respect. I know I want my heart to keep beating well after it’s hit the two and a half billion mark.

Author's Bio: 

Joanne Jackson holds a certificate in Nutrition: Studies and Applications and a certificate in Natural Health Fundamentals, and is currently studying for her diploma as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist. Joanne is an advocate of healthy eating and proper nutrition and understands that the choices we make, and choosing them wisely, is the key to wellness and vitality. A Member of The AIM Companies for over twenty-three years, Joanne takes pride in sharing her knowledge of nutrition and the AIM products with others.
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