12 Tips for Better Heart Health
Diet, sleep, fitness, and more -- how to strengthen and protect your heart right now
“Doctors usually talk about good and bad cholesterol and most folks will
have that down, but triglycerides are a better marker for high risk of diabetes
and heart disease,” says Jones.
Triglycerides are also much more responsive to lifestyle changes than other
types of blood fats. “Your triglycerides can drop 30% to 50% just by reducing
saturated fats and reducing your weight,” Jones says.
3. Go for nuts and plant
Your heart will love you if you eat six walnuts before lunch and dinner,
according to Michael Roizen, MD, the chief wellness officer for Cleveland
Clinic and chairman of the clinic’s Wellness Institute. Why? Because “walnuts
are rich in omega-3 fatty acids,
which help to decrease inflammation in the arteries surrounding your heart, so
they keep your heart functioning longer and better,” promises Roizen,co-author
of the best-selling You: Staying Young: The Owner’s Manual for Extending
Your Warranty. “Walnuts will also make you feel fuller faster so you are
less likely to overeat at meals.”
You may want to give pistachios a
try as well. A recent study shows that a serving or two of pistachios each day
may help reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, as long as you are mindful of
calories. One cup of pistachio nuts has about 700 calories!
Other nuts, such as peanuts,
macadamia nuts, and almonds are a rich source of plant sterols, which block
cholesterol absorption in the intestines. Studies have shown that eating foods
enriched with plant sterols lowers LDL cholesterol. Eating 2-3 grams a day
lowers LDL cholesterol by 6-15%, without affecting HDL cholesterol or
triglycerides. Sterols are found in all plant foods, but the highest
concentrations are found in unrefined oils, such as vegetable, nut, and olive
oil. Some foods have also been fortified with plant sterols, including milk,
yogurt, juices, and spreads.
De-stress your heart.
Unplug yourself from the news cycle and your email. It’s good for you and
your ticker. And that begins with your PDA. “Start turning it off for 15
minutes at a time and work up to an hour a day to reduce stress,” Goldberg
says. “Stress raises blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of the stress
hormone cortisol,” she says. “These days, people are less and less capable of
leaving stress at the office because everyone is connected 24/7.”