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Living Your Best Lifestyle

Living Your Best Lifestyle

April 09, 2024 Posted in: Heart & Vascular Care  3 minute read time

The top predictors of heart health are also areas people can work to improve. Focusing on the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8 can help you reach your goals for heart health:

  1. Cut down or quit smoking.
  2. Eat well.
  3. Get moving 30 to 45 minutes five days a week.
  4. Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  5. Sleep seven to nine hours nightly.
  6. Aim for blood pressure under 130/80 mm Hg.
  7. Control cholesterol levels.
  8. Keep A1c less than 7.

“Lifestyle remains the foundational therapy in reaching and maintaining healthy body weight and effective stress management,” said Steve Lin, MD, FACC, cardiologist and director of cardiovascular services and cardiac rehabilitation at Saint Joseph Hospital. “In our clinic, almost 80% of patients are overweight or obese. Lifestyle is a critical component of weight management, and a big part of that is your diet.”

A Sea Change

Diet trends come and go, but the Mediterranean diet is known to promote heart health. When shopping, follow these tips, which research consistently shows will lead to better health:

  • Focus on fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruit, beans and whole grains.
  • Choose healthy fats from fatty fish, olive oil, avocado and nuts and avoid saturated fat found in red meat and processed foods.
  • Limit sodium by cooking more meals from scratch and avoiding foods high in sodium.

“People who follow this diet may find they feel better and look younger,” Dr. Lin said. “Still, at some point, you will deviate from the ideal diet. The main goal is to make sure that you do so only on occasion. Make heart-healthy eating part of your everyday lifestyle.” 

Heart-Healthy Quarterback Sacks

Put the power of heart-smart Mediterranean diet staples in a pita for a taste bud touchdown while watching the big game.

2  cups black beans, low sodium, drained and rinsed
2  cups frozen vegetable mix (broccoli, corn, peppers and other vegetables), thawed
2   cups chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, grilled, diced
½ cup mozzarella cheese, low-moisture, part-skim, shredded
1  tablespoon cilantro, fresh, chopped
2  tablespoon scallions, chopped
2  6-inch pitas, whole wheat, halved

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except pita bread. Mix well.
3. Divide the filling between each pita pocket and place on the pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until filling is heated through and cheese is melted.

Serves 4


Calories: 390
Calories from fat: 16
Total fat: 7g
Saturated fat: 3g
Cholesterol: 85mg
Sodium: 560mg
Total carbohydrate: 41g
Dietary fiber: 8g
Protein: 39g

Do you know your risk for heart disease? Click here to take our heart health risk assessment and share the results with your provider. 

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