The way you live affects how you live. And, when it comes to your heart, there’s no better time than the present to get control over cardiovascular health and live a heart healthy lifestyle. Being heart smart begins with a healthy diet, an active lifestyle, taking control of medical issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and adopting a lifestyle that will keep your heart ticking for years to come. At Shakthi Health & Wellness Center, we help patients gain control over cardiovascular health, including reversing the effects of cardiovascular disease through healthy lifestyle changes that become a way of living for the long term.
Take control of your heart health at any age with these steps:
- Adopt a healthy diet. Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats (like olive oil and avocados) have the most positive effect on heart health. Additionally, eating a wide variety of whole grains, legumes, fish (rich in Omega-3), as well as seeds and nuts help to round out a healthy diet. In fact, studies have shown that a mostly plant-based diet, or an all-vegetarian diet, helps to lower a person’s risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, which contribute to coronary artery disease, the leading cause of a heart attack.
What should you avoid or limit as part of a heart-healthy diet?
- Saturated fat and processed foods and meats
- Regular exercise keeps the heart strong and blood pressure from rising. That doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym seven days a week or participate in intense aerobics classes every day. Simply walking, swimming, or riding a bike are all great ways to incorporate exercise into everyday life. Yoga is another terrific way to add movement to your day while stretching core muscles and maintaining bone health and strength. Walk the dog, jog with a friend, swim with the kids, any type of regular movement that you enjoy will help keep your heart healthy and strong.
- Reduce stress and add more balance to life. Everyone has stress. But, prolonged stress can have a negative effect on your health and your heart. Between juggling career, family, and other life obligations, many people feel stretched too thin. Make sure to take some time for yourself. Incorporating meditation, light exercise such as yoga or walking, and getting an adequate night’s sleep is important to maintaining good overall health and fighting inflammation that can lead to heart disease.
- See your doctor for regular check-ups. Staying on top of annual check-ups and talking to your doctor about any medical conditions or changes you experience is an important part of maintaining good cardiovascular health. Obesity, poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are all major risk factors for heart disease that should be addressed and managed by a physician. At Shakthi, we focus on identifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease early enough to improve heart health through lifestyle changes alone. We also offer patients access to a non-invasive test called EndoPAT (Endothelial Peripheral Arterial Tone). This test can painlessly and effectively measure the health of blood vessels by measuring the blood flow in the lower arms and fingers.
EndoPAT assesses endothelial function, or how well your arteries are able to open and close. Arteries that are more flexible or open are less likely to have plaque stick to them, resulting in a lower risk of clogged arteries that lead to heart attack and stroke. By looking at the whole picture and assessing all risk factors for heart disease, we develop a comprehensive plan for making significant lifestyle improvements, which is one of the unique benefits of integrated medicine.
It’s never too early or too late to take control of your heart health. By making important lifestyle changes, you can be on the road to a heart healthy life.