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Heart Smarts: Five Simple Steps
Heart health is not as complicated as you may think. Simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can make all the difference in the world. We know that exercise is essential, but this need not entail joining a gym or filling your house with exercise equipment. Nor is it necessary to purchase expensive foods. Here are five simple changes to help you on your journey to a healthier heart.
Move: The more you move, the more in control of your heart health you will be. Walk. Park in the back of the parking lot. Walk up the stairs instead of taking an elevator. If you are seriously out of shape, start with one flight of stairs, and then take the elevator. Increase the flights-up gradually. Dance. Turn on your favorite music, and move to the beat. Take it easy at first. You want to be able to dance again. Whatever movement you choose, do it every day, and increase slowly. You will be amazed at the progress you will make in one month.
Know Your Numbers: What is your cholesterol number and what is your blood pressure? Your cholesterol should be under 200, and the lower the number the better. The best number for blood pressure is 120/80. See your doctor, and get on medication if either of these numbers are high.
Eat Healthy: Cut the sugar. If you can cut it out completely, you'll be glad you did. Eat fresh fruits, especially berries, which are low in carbohydrates, and what carbohydrates they do have are more slowly absorbed into the blood stream. High sugar consumption can bring on diabetes, which will then make you more prone to heart disease. Add fresh vegetables and whole grain breads. Cut the fat. High fat foods, especially stick margarine and butter can promote high cholesterol. Eat more chicken and fish. Choose high fiber foods.
See Your Dentist: Good dental health is essential for heart health. Gum disease may be a higher predictor of heart disease than high triglycerides, says Michael P. Rethman, D.D.S., president of the American Academy of Periodontology. "If there is inflammation in your mouth, bacteria can enter the blood stream." It is believed that bacteria in the mouth can have a role in inflammation of the blood vessels associated with heart disease.
Copyright: Jaye Lewis
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