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Heart-Healthy Tips

 

Making just two lifestyle changesexercising five day-a-week and eating a healthy dietcan significantly improve the health of your heart.

Most doctors agree that a heart-healthy diet and exercise could lower your risk of diabetes, hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.

One of my favorite physicians, Dr. Joe Mercola, has the following suggestions, with a few of my own, to help you accomplish that goal. My comments are in italics.

  • Reduce grains and sugars in your diet; especially those containing gluten (wheat, rye, barley) and fructose (especially high fructose corn syrup in colas and most packaged foods). I substitute Stevia for sugar and this is the only pure brand I have found.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables  daily – add a bit of raw vegetable with each meal – carrot or celery sticks, micro-greens, etc.
  • Get plenty of animal-based omega-3 fats – Eat wild-caught (not wild) salmon or sardines 3 times a week or take krill oil supplements (Dr. Mercola’s is the only brand I trust).
  • Replace harmful vegetable cooking oils and margarine with the following: extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil (never heat this oil), butter or ghee (ideally, grass-fed), and coconut oil (for cooking and baking). Note that trans-fats are labeled as partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Include fermented foods daily. These optimize your intestinal microflora, which will boost your overall immunity. They also introduce beneficial bacteria into your mouth. Poor oral health is another powerful indicator of increased heart disease risk.
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels, ideally through appropriate sun exposure (another myth is that the sun is bad for you). Supplements will help if you can’t get out in the sun.
  • Breathe deeply and exercise regularly. Even a brisk 20 minute walk daily minimizes risk of heart disease.
  • Stop smoking and drinking excessively (1 drink a day for women and 2 for men is the recommended amount)
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Take CoQ10 (or Ubiquinol if a senior) and Magnesium – all heart attack victims were low in these

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Most importantly, manage your emotions. Frequent angry outbursts, grief, and even holding in emotions can significantly increase your risk of heart attack.

Intense emotions trigger a cascade of physical reactions, including increases in stress hormones, heart rate, arterial tension, and blood pressure. This causes changes in blood flow that encourage blood clots and trigger inflammation. The best way to stay calm is to breathe deeply, hold for a count of 8, then release.

A positive outlook on life is highly important, decreasing your risk of heart attack or stroke by one-third. Optimistic people have lower risks of dying from any cause, compared to those who are highly pessimistic.

 

Always check with your health care practitioner when making dietary or other changes.

 


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