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Worried About Your Heart? Follow the Doctor's Lead

By Sandy Schroeder

Wherever you are in the age spectrum, you are probably aware of how important it is to keep your heart in good shape.

Recently went right to the core of the matter when they shared an inside look at what a cardio specialist does to protect her heart. Jennifer Haythe, MD,  director of cardio-obstetrics and internist at NYPH/Columbia said,"Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for men and women in this country. The key to longevity is to take really great care of your heart."

Dr. Haythe says the heart is a muscle much like other muscles that needs to stay in shape. It is also influenced by mood and stress levels.

Here are the heart tips she lives by.

Opt for a Mediterranean diet - Dr. Haythe does not believe in restricting her diet, but says common sense calls for a plant and fish diet that limits red meat to twice a month. She also chooses chicken, fruit, nuts, olive oil and legumes, and says pizza and fries are OK too, once in a while.

Set exercise goals and keep them - Dr. Haythe is a runner who does 45 minutes of intense cardiovascular exercise 4-5 times a week. She recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobics such as dancing, brisk walking or gardening, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobics like swimming laps, cycling or running.

Get enough sleep every night - Dr. Haythe says she shoots for seven hours of sleep each night.  She also notes, too little or too much sleep can raise the risk of a heart attack. Seven to nine hours is considered a healthy range. Haythe suggests choosing a good book over electronics at night to wind down.

Explore meditation - Dr. Haythe says meditation slows the heart rate and reduces blood pressure. Choose a form that works for you, such as walking, cooking, long soaks in the tub or a simple morning/evening pause for a silent meditation to begin and end the day.

See your dentist for regular checkups - Careless dental and gum care have been linked to increased risk for heart disease. Brush and floss daily and have your teeth cleaned at least twice a year with regular checkups for cavities.

Following the doctor's lead to protect your heart might be the best goal you could choose for the new year.

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

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