As a trainer and host of NBC’s hit show The Biggest Loser, Bob Harper seems to be the picture of health. However, after reports that the 51-year-old recently had a serious heart attack, he took to Instagram to update his followers.
On Monday night, he shared a photo of himself, writing, “I am feeling better. Just taking it easy.” The photo shows him with his rescue dog Karl, whom he calls “a great nurse.” He also thanked fans for their support. “It feels good to be cared about,” he says. “I’m lucky to have such good friends and family to care of me right now.”
A second post, which he captioned “on the road to recovery,” shows Harper wearing heart monitors. “I’m required to wear these monitors to see what my heart is doing throughout the day,” he explains, thanking his followers again for their kind words.
It can be surprising to learn that a health and fitness professional has had a heart attack. “Some people’s hearts are more prone to dangerous heart rhythms due to structural or electrical heart abnormalities, regardless of whether their heart has blockages that might cause a heart attack,” says James Beckerman, MD, a cardiologist in Portland, OR.
Family history of heart disease may have also played a role in Harper’s case. He has revealed in an interview with Maria Shriver that his mother died from a heart attack. “Genetics account for about 20% of our risk of heart disease, while the bulk of our risk is based on our lifestyle,” Beckerman says.
To cut your chance of having heart disease, you can manage your blood pressure, control cholesterol, be active, eat healthy, lose excess weight, and quit smoking.
As part of his recovery, Harper says on Instagram that he’s following a Mediterranean-style diet based on his doctors' advice. The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan that includes lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans. You'll also get unsaturated fats from sources like olive oil, fish oil, nuts, and seeds, which can keep cholesterol levels in check. On the Mediterranean diet, you should limit added sugars, refined carbs, and saturated fats from animal products, but you can enjoy some low-fat dairy, as well as a moderate amount of red wine!
We’re glad to see Harper’s doing better, and we wish him a speedy recovery.