The heart is a marvel! Theologically, it is the center of the human being and where God is revealed. Physically, it is the primary organ and catalyst of necessary processes throughout the anatomy. Because the Orthodox Church advocates for physical—as well as spiritual health—the heart’s material function becomes an important indicator of our general well-being, especially when considering heart disease is the number-one cause of death in the United States.
"The Spiritual & Physical Heart: What’s the Connection?" is a Center for Family Care webinar broadcast from September 2015 that features Dr. Trent Orfanos, a cardiologist and Functional Medicine practitioner from Crown Point, Indiana. His overall message is that our health is much more a result of lifestyle choices—rather than genetics. By accounting for criteria such as diet, social interaction, physical activity, and stress reduction, Dr. Orfanos’ offers resonating advice for heart health.
1) Dr. Orfanos states the single most important thing we can do for physical health is eat natural foods. Is this already a priority for your household? Does ‘being busy’ compromise the quality of food you eat, where nutrition often is swapped out for speed or convenience? If so, what steps could be taken to make healthy changes to your family’s diet?
2) In addition to proper food choices, enjoying meals at home is also mentioned as a significant factor for health. Socialization is important! Many times, however, busy schedules pull family members in different directions. As a family, is it difficult to gather for a daily meal? And if you’re not eating together consistently, are circumstances able to change that would allow that to change?
3) Movement is also a consideration for keeping our hearts healthy. How physically active is your family? Are there regular opportunities for exercise, either through work or leisure time? Family time with a physical component can help ensure everyone is getting a sufficient amount of physical activity. Is it possible to arrange bonding time that requires a pair of athletic shoes?
4) We can be prone to the demands of a busy lifestyle—responsibilities of work, school, home administration, etc. If we’re regularly stressed, it can have a tangibly negative effect upon our heart health. When feeling overwhelmed, how do you and your family members cope with the effects of stress? Does your faith inform how you manage stress (prayer, confession, etc.)?
This webinar originally aired on September 21, 2015.