- Manage the big risk factors. Quit smoking, and if you have diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about getting them under control – follow his or her advice about appropriate medications. While medications may not be anyone’s first choice, once the condition is present, very often the benefits of control outweigh any side effect concerns. Be sure to also implement the following tips below as these are top line treatments as well. Especially if you have a heart attack history, seek the advice of an integrative medicine practitioner to help you weigh what is best for your future protection.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. Avoid partially hydrogenated and trans-fats and include more vegetables, fruits, whole soy products, legumes, high fiber whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. See the food choices recommended in my Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid.
- Get active. Moderate physical activity helps keep the heart muscle strong and the arteries flexible, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, increases overall energy and helps elevate and stabilize mood.
- Relax. Learn how to implement one or several relaxation strategies into your daily life. Try guided meditation, my 4-7-8 breathing exercise, yoga or any other method that appeals you. Also, consider a deep-dive with a spouse, friend or family member to identify your stressors and ways you might reduce them.