Friday, July 17, 2009
(Information courtesy of AARP Magazine)
The old saying that a wounded heart never heals just doesn’t apply anymore. Diet, exercise and a positive mental outlook can help prevent and even reverse years of poor heart habits. In fact, small lifestyle changes can go a long way towards attaining and maintaining a healthy heart. Start today with these tips:
A recent study by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds that the chronically anxious may see a significant increase in the risk of a heart attack. Lower stress by starting a daily meditation practice or simply work on a puzzle or hobby that helps you relax.
LIMIT FAT INTAKE
Trans fats and hydrogenated oils raise blood levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), increasing your risk of coronary heart disease. But eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite snacks. Many potato, corn, and tortilla chips and even cookies are now made with healthier oils that don’t affect taste.
Regular exercise prevents heart attack and stroke by lowering inflammation, reducing blood pressure, maintaining weight, and reducing stress. Even 90 minutes to 2 hours spread out over a week can lower risk, according to a 2007 Harvard University study.
CONTROL BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure forces your heart to work harder, which is why it’s a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Get your blood pressure checked often and, if it’s high, talk to your doctor about ways to bring it down.
Adding natural, food-based supplements to a healthy diet may allow you to avoid medications. Learn how to choose a good supplement here.