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8 Tips for a Smart Heart Lifestyle

heart beatAt the Roper Hospital Cardiac Wellness & Rehabilitation Center, we work with patients recovering from heart attacks or help them prevent further heart disease. But honestly, as much as we love our patients we’d rather they NOT have to come see us!

When it comes to heart health, the best medicine is prevention, so, at the risk of putting ourselves out of a job we love, here are our tips for making heart healthy choices as part of your everyday life.

  1. Incorporate physical activity into daily routine: take the stairs, park in the last parking spot and walk.
  2. In addition to physical activity throughout the day, try to achieve at least 150 minutes/week of moderate intensity exercise, such as Zumba, walking, biking, running, hiking.
  3. Decrease your stress levels by meditation, yoga or deep breathing exercises.
  4. Increase fiber to at least 25 grams/day for heart health, improved digestion and weight control. Great fiber sources include beans, cruciferous veggies, berries, whole grains and nuts/seeds.
  5. Get plenty of COLOR on your plate! If your plate is mostly white, brown or gray, it’s not as healthy as it could be. Try incorporating more colors from fresh or frozen fruits and veggies. Shopping local Farmer’s Markets supports your body with more disease-fighting nutrients, while supporting local farmers.
  6. Choose healthy fats throughout the day. Sources include avocados, olives, nuts/seeds, fatty fish (such as salmon, lake trout), olive oil and avocado.
  7. Avoid trans fats, which can be hidden in a product’s list of ingredients under the name “hydrogenated oils.” These trans fats are found in low fat peanut butter, many coffee creamers, many tortilla wraps, pizza dough, pie crust, cookies and most crackers.
  8. Ditch the salt shaker and opt instead for a variety of fresh herbs and spices to provide flavor to your favorite dishes. Many of these herbs and spices are also sources of antioxidants. A win-win!

To learn more about getting and staying heart smart, check out our Roper St. Francis HeartFitness program.

By Chrissy Fleming, MS, Manager, Cardiac Wellness and Rehabilitation and Amber Hoover, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian, Cardiac Wellness and Rehabilitation

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