14-Point Checklist for a Healthy Heart

Since heart disease is the leading killer of Americans today, affecting some one in four people in the United States, a huge amount of suffering, heartache and medical resources could be saved if citizens undertook some simple lifestyle changes aimed at lowering their risk of cardiovascular disorders.     “We need to aim for proactive prevention and not damage control,” said Ara DerMarderosian, a professor of pharmacognosy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Pharmacognosy is a branch of pharmacology that deals with drugs in their crude or natural state and with medicinal herbs or other plants. “Our goal should be not only to minimize the behaviors that are harmful to our health, but to implement the practices that are known to be helpful and beneficial.”

DerMarderosian, who is a noted pharmacognosist, author and lecturer, suggests a few simple heart-healthy diet and lifestyle changes fit for anyone:

A Heart-Protective Diet

-- Stay away from fried foods and processed meats.

-- Choose foods low in fat and cholesterol.

-- Eat six or so servings of vegetables daily.

-- Stick to eating fresh, homemade meals rather than fast-food meals or frozen dinners.

-- Consume more antioxidants by adding to your diet foods such as citrus fruits, berries and spices like turmeric.

-- Keep red-meat meals to one or two a week.

-- Focus more on turkey, chicken and fish, including mackerel, sardines, salmon, herring and cod, which supply valuable omega-3 fatty acids.

A Heart-Protective Lifestyle

-- Avoid smoking and any areas and events where second-hand smoke is rampant.

-- Find ways to reduce and avoid stress.

-- Make a habit of having a positive attitude.

-- Exercise regularly.

-- Sustain regular bowel movements.

-- Drink in moderation – just one glass of red wine a day.

-- Talk with your doctor before you take any supposedly heart-healthy dietary supplements.

-- Don’t overeat – and eat in a leisurely manner.


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