I’ve said many times that taking care of your health is a great act of love. And that also allows you to get older in better ways. Without a healthy heart, it’s hard to have a healthy body. That’s why I’m delighted to have Sarah A. Samaan, MD, FACC as my guest today. She’s a cardiologist with Legacy Heart Center in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, and co-director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Institute at the Baylor Heart Hospital in Plano, Texas.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death yet Dr. Samaan says upwards of 85% of heart disease and stroke can be prevented. She has made preventing heart disease her mission and passion. Her new book, Best Practices for a Healthy Heart: A Cardiologist’s 7-Point Plan for Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease, is geared to helping you learn how to take better care of your heart. The better care you give, the younger your heart can stay. Here are some of her tips:
How to Stay Young at Heart
Sarah Samaan, MD, FACC
Imagine a revolutionary medical breakthrough—a fabulous new drug that could cut your chances of heart disease by more than seventy percent. This new therapy would also be guaranteed to boost your mood, make you appear more youthful and attractive, liven up your sex life, slash your risk of diabetes, protect you from cancer, and reduce your risk of dementia and stroke. Moreover, it’s all natural, nearly 100% safe, and virtually free.
Heart disease kills more than nine times as many women each year than does breast cancer, yet 85% of heart disease is preventable. About 70% of heart disease can be directly attributed to lifestyle, including poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and obesity. These unhealthy behaviors can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, all of which are major risk factors for heart disease. Of course, you may do everything by the book, and still have one of these conditions. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of life-saving medications available, but so often, we physicians have to resort to medical therapy when a good dose of healthy living might have done the trick.
Here are my top ten tips to help you stay young at heart. If you are just getting started in your quest for optimal health, it’s fine to take it one step at a time. Don’t stop, and don’t give up. In a few short weeks, you will begin to feel re-energized, stronger, and more alive.
1. Take charge of your numbers. Get ahead of the game by knowing your waist size, body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar.
2. Explore the Mediterranean. Enjoy the fabulously healthy foods of the Mediterranean islands, including fresh fish, luxurious olive oil, whole grains, and rich green vegetables.
3. Journey to Japan. Discover the longevity secrets of soy, green tea, and sweet potatoes, and follow the time-honored Japanese custom of finishing a meal before you feel full.
4. Don’t fall for fakery. Stay away from artificial sweeteners and other imposters. Just like the perfect handbag, the real deal is always the smartest choice.
5. Enjoy a good cup of tea or coffee without a spoonful of guilt. As long as you don’t overdo it, this is one little indulgence that will keep your heart happy and your mind snappy.
6. A glass of wine is perfectly fine. The redder the better, but even white will do. If alcohol is not your thing, purple grape juice is a brilliant alternative.
7. Get a move on. Walk like you mean it, dance to your own music, or hit the gym. Whatever your inclination, commit to two and a half hours every week to achieve optimal health and vitality.
8. Be smart about hormones. While there are still many nagging questions about who, what, and when to take them, medical science is finally taking women’s health seriously. Avoid rumors and hearsay. Find a good doctor whose opinion you trust, and stay up to date on the latest news about hormones and your health.
9. Listen to your mother. Keep your pearly whites shining, sleep at least seven hours a night, and never, ever skip breakfast.
10. Nurture your friendships. A friend will lift your heart when your spirits are sagging and support you when your willpower is lagging. A good laugh with a friend may be the best therapy of all.
Check out Sarah A. Samaan‘s new book, Best Practices for a Healthy Heart: A Cardiologist’s 7-Point Plan for Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease.
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