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Exercise and eating right are well-known keys to maintaining a healthy heart. But even if you already have a heart condition such as high blood pressure, you can still do your heart a big favor by living a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, many heart patients do not heed this advice.
For an overall eating plan, consider the DASH eating plan. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, a clinical study that tested the effects of nutrients in food on blood pressure. Study results indicated that elevated blood pressures were reduced by an eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods and is low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol. The DASH eating plan includes whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts, and has reduced amounts of fats, red meats, sweets and sugared beverages.
The Benefits of Staying Active
Moderate physical activity can help the heart get stronger. Most people find that exercise improves their symptoms, reduces stress and boosts energy levels. Regular physical activity also may lead to other important health advantages, including weight control, weight loss, better circulation and blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels.
It is always best before establishing an exercise program to consult with your doctor to determine the types of exercise that will be good for your heart condition. Go slowly and work toward established goals. The American Heart Association suggests, for example, that patients start by walking 5 minutes a day, then increasing gradually to 30 minutes per day over several weeks. Swimming may be another good choice.
You Can Do Better
While many patients don’t manage their heart conditions, you don’t have to be one of them. Sharp Grossmont-affiliated cardiologist, Dr. Nassir Azimi, said these steps can improve your health — and maybe even save your life:
Learn More About the DASH Diet
The DASH diet plan is recommended by the following organizations:
To read more about the DASH eating plan go to www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/new_dash.pdf.
We hope you find this website helpful, but please remember that Sharp HealthCare does not control or endorse the information presented on this we site, nor does this site endorse the information found on www.sharp.com.
For More Information
For more information about heart and vascular care at Sharp or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego cardiologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about heart and vascular care, visit Cardiovascular Diseases in Adult Health or read the Heart and Cardiovascular News archive.