Dr. Oz's 8 Tips for a Healthy Heart
leatherbear last edited by
Oprah's resident M.D., Dr. Mehmet Oz, shares his most effective tips for keeping your heart healthy.
1. Get at Least Seven Hours of Sleep
That's per night, not week. And men-the needier breed-require eight. Getting by on less can cause metabolic changes that increase your risk for obesity and diabetes. And one recent study from the University of Chicago found that the fewer hours of sleep adults get each night, the more likely they are to have calcium deposits in their arteries.
2. Know Your Blood Pressure
What's the fastest way to age an artery? Subject it to high blood pressure, which will harden it like a garden hose that's been left out in the sun. A range of 120/80 to 130/85 mmHg is considered below the hypertension point, but it's not ideal. In fact, reducing your blood pressure from 130/85 to 115/76 can make your body up to ten years younger. There's no data to show that using drugs to lower blood pressure offers the full youth effect. So for now, you guessed it: Exercise, lose weight, reduce stress. The good news is, the benefits from physical activity are just about instantaneous.
3. Avoid Secondhand Smoke
Don't let people puff away in your space. An hour of passive smoke can cause the same amount of aging as having two to four cigarettes.
4. Walk 30 Minutes Every Day
A Harvard study suggests that for every hour you exercise during your life, your longevity increases by two hours. It's important to get your heart pumping every day-moving regularly is the key to exercise's antiaging effect.
5. Eat Fish Three Times a Week
It may not be just the omega-3s in the oil that keep the heart and arteries humming along; a number of animal studies have also indicated that a protein in fish provides a separate boost to cardiovascular health. Eat a variety of low-mercury fish (such as wild salmon, catfish, or tilapia). And if you're not nuts about seafood, an ounce of walnuts a day will give you a good dose of omega-3s.
6. Take Half an Aspirin Daily
Yes, those big studies came out a few years ago saying low-dose aspirin does pretty much zilch to prevent heart attacks and cancer in women, but the evidence is strong for aspirin's reducing the risk of stroke. If you're over 40, I recommend half a 325 milligram tablet (or two baby aspirin), with half a glass of warm water both before and after you swallow so that you're less likely to irritate your stomach.
7. Live Within Your Means
Feeling out of control financially can affect not only your sleep (see number one) but also your arterial health due to chronic stress. And a bankruptcy can put miles on your body's odometer.
8. Floss and Brush
Any chronic infection (including gingivitis) stimulates your body to protect against bleeding with an increase in clotting-a recipe for heart attack.
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.