Keeping your heart healthy and happy is more important than ever with heart disease being the cause of 1 in every 3 deaths in the US. As with many things, genetics may set the stage but lifestyle has a huge impact on how the show plays out. Heart disease is preventable and even reversible when you focus on “Life’s simple 7,” which are seven key health factors and behaviors identified by the American Heart Association that, when managed, decrease the risk of heart disease.
Many of us are well aware of Life’s Simple 7: not smoking, increasing physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, controlling body weight, and controlling of cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Sounds simple, right? Then, why is it still one of the leading causes of death? We all know we need to eat right and exercise, but what does that mean and what are some other things that we can do to keep our hearts happy?
The “Best” Heart Healthy Diet
The US News & World Report just ranked the Mediterranean Diet as the #1 diet (out of 50) for heart health. I have to say I agree! The best foods for heart health include many foods found in the Mediterranean Diet which gets its name from the fact that folks in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less than most Americans from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Elements include a diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fats and high in produce, nuts and other healthy fats. We will be devoting an entire seminar to how to get started in the Mediterranean Diet with the help of a nutritionist. But for now, take a look at what Oldways, which is a nonprofit food think tank out of Boston, has to say about the diet. They have even developed a consumer friendly Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid! Of course, given your individual dietary and metabolic needs, we would modify some elements of the diet to fit your lifestyle and health goals.
At the bare minimum, I recommend my patients exercise for 20 minutes a day at least 5 times a week. What’s more, yoga and daily meditation has a significant impact on lowering stress and ultimately your risk for heart disease. Yoga is the best of both worlds because it combines exercise and mindfulness to help bring the body into balance. Just 3 minutes of daily meditation can make the heart a lot happier.
Ideally, the bulk of your nutrition should come from your diet. However, achieving that goal is hard. I believe that a few basic supplements tailored to your needs are a good idea. Everyone is different but I typically recommend a good multivitamin, a fish oil supplement and a probiotic. Other supplements that have been shown to help with heart health include CoQ10, turmeric, garlic, magnesium. Supplements with high levels of the amino acid choline should be avoided. It is important to talk to your doctor about which supplements to take and also to make sure you are getting the best quality possible! If you are a member of my clinic, please talk to me about the quality supplements that I can provide for you.
There are numerous tests that will help you identify risk factors and that will help guide our therapy plan. These are not only easy to administer but also very affordable through our clinic. The tests that I recommend include:
Coronary Artery Calcium Score (Heart Scan)
Biometrics including visceral fat percentage + abdominal girth
I will be expanding on these topics at our upcoming heart health seminar on Feb 28th at 5:30p. Click here to RSVP for our event where we will offer more comprehensive information on foods, supplements, practices, and tests that are all geared to keep your heart happy! As well as, provide free biometric screenings during the event. If you haven’t already done so, please “Like” our clinic page IdealAccessMD. You will get notifications of when I post a future informative video regarding heart health, other educational topics and events. If you aren’t on Facebook, then visit our website at www.idealaccessmd.com and sign up for our mailing list to receive our monthly newsletter.