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Heart Disease Health Center

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Heart Attack Causes and Treatments

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Mind/Body Medicine After a Heart Attack

Reducing stress may be one of the risk factors that you can control to help prevent a heart attack and aid recovery. Many techniques promote relaxation -- among them, meditation, biofeedback, and yoga. Relaxation has also been shown to provide relief from pain, which may be encountered during the recovery period.

People with a positive attitude about recovery tend to do much better. You may find that a particular mind/body technique helps you to focus on positive thoughts. You may also find, as many others have, that sharing thoughts and emotions with a support group is extremely beneficial.

Depression is also associated with heart disease. Discuss any signs of depression with your doctor. Untreated depression can interfere with your recovery.

Nutrition and Diet After a Heart Attack

The basic goals of a heart-healthy diet are to keep salt, sugar, and saturated fat to a minimum to control cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight. Eating magnesium-rich foods such as nuts, beans, bran, fish, and dark green vegetables may help prevent a heart attack. Magnesium protects the heart directly and indirectly, by stabilizing heart rate, reducing coronary artery spasm, and combating such conditions as atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.

Much evidence suggests that unstable chemical compounds known as free radicals make the body more vulnerable to heart attack by striking the heart and coronary arteries and promoting atherosclerosis. Free radicals can be neutralized by antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E. Fruits, vegetables, and grains supply many of the antioxidant vitamins.

Omega-3 fatty acids have also received a lot of attention for being heart healthy by lessening inflammation in the body. Omega-3s can be found in olive oil, canola oil, walnuts, and flax seed. However, omega-3 fatty acids are probably best known for being in certain types of fish like salmon, tuna, herring, and mackerel. A landmark 2006 study showed that a modest intake of fish can reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack by a whopping 36%.

Eating root vegetables such as carrots may also help prevent heart attack. These vegetables lower cholesterol over the long term and reduce blood-clotting activity.

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