Healthy Choices

Lower Heart Attack Risk

Whether you're healthy or at risk for heart disease, the advice to protect your heart is the same:

Be physically active on most days of the week.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet, including omega-3s, such as flaxseed.

Keep your blood pressure below 120/80.

Keep total cholesterol level less than 200, with LDL ("bad") cholesterol less than 100 and HDL ("good") cholesterol more than at least 45 for men and 55 for women.

Prevent or manage diabetes. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

Minimize stress.

Nuts Decrease Risk of Heart Disease

Adding a handful of nuts to an already healthy diet can reduce the risk of heart disease. In a recent study, people who ate nuts had a 13 percent decreased risk of heart attack. For best health, eat a handful of nuts daily.

There's More to Sodium than the Salt Shaker

A low-sodium (salt) diet contributes to a healthy heart. The majority of sodium in the diet often comes from processed, packaged foods. Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups, and salad dressings, which often have a lot of sodium. When available, buy low-sodium versions of food. And learn to read labels, watching for versions of salt such as sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Cook rice, pasta and hot cereals without salt. Instead, try using herbs, spices and salt-free seasoning blends in cooking and at the table.

Ask the Wellness Doctor

Q: My blood pressure is 135/83. Should I be worried?

A: A blood pressure of 130/80 or higher does carry a health risk, especially if you have diabetes or kidney disease. Read more at:

Featured in: February 2009


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