The New Year is in full swing, it’s a time of new beginnings. As a geriatrician at the new Center Communities of Brookline practice, I’m thrilled when patients want to make changes to positively impact their health. Common goals, such as exercising regularly, losing weight, and improving one’s diet also happen to be the main ways to improve heart health.
Our hearts beat thousands of times a day, pumping blood throughout our bodies in order to nourish and sustain us. This amazing organ needs to be protected and properly cared for to remain healthy for years to come. Fortunately, there are small steps involving exercise and diet that can make a big impact. To improve heart health in your daily life, consider the following tips:
Decrease Sodium: Try to keep sodium (salt) intakes to less than 2,000 mg a day. Be wary of canned and pre-packaged foods when it comes to salt levels.
Increase Fiber: High fiber intake can also help with decreasing the bad cholesterol in your blood, decreasing your risk for heart disease.
Banish Bad Fats: Focus on intakes of lean meats that have less than 10% fat content, as well as low-fat dairy, such as skim or 1% milk and reduced fat cheese. Your goal is to decrease saturated fat and trans fat intakes.
Portion Control: This can lead to overall decreased intakes of high fat/high sodium foods. Some examples of appropriate portions include: ½ cup pasta, 2-3 ounces of lean meats, ¼ cup nuts (raw walnuts and almonds are the healthiest)
Maintain a Healthy Weight: This will not only decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease, but will also decrease your risk for diabetes, kidney disease, and stroke. Ask your doctor or registered dietitian what an appropriate weight is then work to shed those extra pounds.
Get Moving: Regular exercise can help improve your cardiovascular system, but consult with a doctor before starting a new program.
Be Emotionally Healthy: Stress and poor emotional health can lead to overeating. Take your emotional health as seriously as your physical health.
Get Educated: Symptoms of heart problems can vary and should always be discussed with your doctor. If you ever experience any shortness of breath, chest pressure or pain, heart palpitations, or weakness, seek medical attention.
If you have concerns about heart health or other medical issues, feel free to schedule an appointment at my new practice at the Center Communities of Brookline. Call 617-363-8041 to learn more.