The heart is fickle. It wants to love and be loved, and it is liable to be hurt along the way. Facing a bad breakup or realizing that “the one” got away hurts. There’s no denying that. But the heart is also the most important muscle in the body, and emotional nourishment isn’t the only type of care it craves.
To stave off common American heart conditions like heart disease, hypertension, arrhythmia, and high cholesterol, the heart needs regular TLC through healthy lifestyle habits that anyone can adopt easily and pleasurably. Show your heart some love and it’ll thank you every other month of the year and beyond.
>> 1. Share some dark chocolate with your sweetheart. Studies show that less than an ounce a day can lower systolic blood pressure by three to four points. High blood pressure (or hypertension) is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease (CVD).
>> 2. Steal a kiss with garlic breath. Eating one to three cloves of fresh garlic a day is a good way to normalize cholesterol, another traditional risk factor in CVD. Crushing and adding a few garlic cloves into olive oil makes a yummy treat that can drop your cholesterol by 10 to 12 points.
>> 3. Go nutty. Snack on a handful of tree nuts daily. Studies show that eating walnuts, which are rich in heart-protecting monounsaturated fats, can help normalize blood cholesterol. The same is true of other tree nuts, such as almonds and macadamia nuts.
>> 4. Make a date with eggs. Contrary to popular belief, studies show that eating even as many as six eggs a day has no negative effect on blood cholesterol levels. In fact, one study shows that regular egg consumption normalizes total cholesterol and improves “good” HDL cholesterol in a majority of healthy adults.
>> 5. Go on a fishing trip. The American Heart Association has endorsed the use of omega-3 fatty acids for secondary prevention of heart disease; prevention of angina, heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events in people with diagnosed CVD. A high-quality fish oil supplement, as well as fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, are all great sources of omega-3s.
By Jacob Teitelbaum, MD