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The Heart Beat

with James Beckerman, MD, FACC

Heart disease can be prevented! Your personal choices have a big impact on your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Dr. James Beckerman is here to provide insights into how making small, livable lifestyle changes can have a real impact on your heart health.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Five Unusual Ways to Prevent Heart Disease

You’ve heard it all before. Eat right. Exercise. Stop smoking. But now it’s time to take that advice and finally figure out how to fit it all into your life.  Think outside the box and take some risks while tackling your own risk factors.

1) Get a dog. One study found that people who got a dog as a pet lowered their blood pressure, reported more happiness, and lost an average of five pounds over a six week period. Daily walks not only get you out of the house, but can provide for some well-needed family time.

2) Upgrade your cell phone. As cell phone cameras become commonplace, you are now armed with an easy way to lose weight: photograph your food. Keeping a food diary is the single most effective weight loss intervention, and a picture says a thousand words. People who keep track of meals and snacks lose double the weight of those who don’t, and taking a quick snapshot of your meal (before you eat it!) is associated with adopting healthier behaviors in just one week.

3) Start a blog. Among the clamor of status updates, online check-in’s, and constant tweets, it is sometimes hard to hear yourself think. Blogging is an easy and free way to vent, share your thoughts, and plan your journey ahead. Many people are using blogs to detail their health challenges, frustrations, and triumphs. It’s the perfect place to plan your triathlon training, be held accountable to your scale, or share your strategies with your readers.

4) Go Siberian. When food was scarce, generations of people in Russia’s coldest frontier chewed on pine nuts to help curb their appetites. Pine nuts naturally contain two different appetite suppressants (cholecystekinin and Glucagon-like peptide), and have the pleasant side effect of lowering your risk of heart disease.

5) Snuggle. It’s no surprise that physical intimacy can provide a work-out. Aerobic exercise of any kind helps to bring down your blood pressure, improve blood flow, and reduce future risk. Just make sure you don’t have a cigarette afterward!

Posted by: James Beckerman, MD, FACC at 10:03 am

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