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Heartfelt Tips to Keep You Healthy

By Sandy Schroeder

When you want good advice, it's smart to go to the best source. If you are already taking steps to keep your heart healthy, you might add these tips from Jennifer Haythe, MD, director of cardio-obstetrics at Columbia.

She practices what she preaches and suggests these steps to keep the heart in peak shape. Haythe says heart disease is the number one cause for death in the U.S., adding that "the key to longevity is to take really great care of your heart."

Watch your stress levels and mood - Both of these have a strong impact on the health of your heart. Take whatever steps needed to lower stress and let more laughter into your life.

Strengthen exercise goals - If you are already active, take a look at your fitness routines and beef them up again. Make sure you are out there every day walking, running or working out. Make exercise an integral part of your life and enjoy the results.

Pick the best activities for you - Stay active and make every minute work count as you use daily tasks, and specific workouts to your advantage. Use gardening, dancing, walking, whatever works for you to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.

Make sleep a priority - People who sleep less than six hours of sleep every night are 20 percent more likely to have a heart attack, according to Dr. Haythe.  Turn your bedroom into a sleep retreat to get at least seven hours of night, and don't get more than nine hours. Shut down electronics two hours before bedtime. Limit caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol in the evening, and use air filters to screen out noise and keep the air cool and clean.

Create a healthy delicious diet - Consider the Mediterranean diet as a model with olive oil, fish, chicken, fruit and nuts. Eat lean meats. Explore sites like Epicurious.com for tasty ways to eat healthy, and make your farmers market a special spot to shop. Pick family choices and turn them into family favorites.

Stay up to date with dental - Researchers believe weak gum and dental practices in flossing and brushing are linked to heart disease. Stay up with regular dental visits for cleaning and cavities to get rid of harmful bacteria.

Heartfelt help for your heart is the smartest thing you could do today.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in San Antonio, Tex.

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