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From Our Cardiac Rehabilitation Program: Seven Heart Healthy Tips

Even small, steady changes in your life mean a stronger, more efficient heart.

Whether you have years of unhealthy habits under your belt or you simply want to improve your heart health,

HERE ARE SEVEN HEART–HEALTHY TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED

  • Control your portion size
    How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Overloading your plate, going for a second helping and eating until you feel stuffed can lead to eating more calories than you should.
    TIP: Use a small plate or bowl to help control your portions.
  • Choose low-fat protein sources
    Choosing lean meats and other low-fat protein sources helps you get the amino acids your body requires without the added fat and calories.
    TIP: Choose low-fat dairy products such as skim or low-fat (1%) milk, yogurt and cheese, eggs, cold-water fish such as salmon, and skinless poultry. Avoid: Full-fat milk and other dairy products, organ meats, such as liver, hot dogs, sausages and bacon.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits
    Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals – and contain substances that may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
    TIP: Choose Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits. Avoid: Fried or breaded vegetables, canned fruit packed in heavy syrup.
  • Limit unhealthy fats
    Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat, is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease.
    Tip: Choose Olive oil, Canola oil, nut oils. Avoid: Butter, Nondairy creamers, coconut, palm, cottonseed and palm-kernel oils.
    Reduce the sodium in your food
  • Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
    Tip: Choose Herbs and spices. Avoid: Table salt, canned soups, frozen dinners and soy sauce.
  • Exercise Regularly
    Getting regular, daily exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease. When you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater!
    Tip: Choose between 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. Avoid: Sitting for long periods of time.
  • Get enough quality sleep
    Make sleep a priority in your life.
    Tip: Choose to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day. Avoid: Compensating sleep deprivation with extended periods of sleep.
DID YOU KNOW?
According to Michael Roizen, MD, the chief wellness officer for Cleveland Clinic and chairman of the clinic’s Wellness Institute: Your heart will love you if you eat six walnuts before lunch and dinner. Why? Because walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to decrease inflammation in the arteries surrounding your heart, so they keep your heart functioning longer and better.