3 Stellar Pieces Of Heart-Health Advice, From Top mbg Experts
While heart health should be a priority year-round, the month of February seems to place special emphasis on this vital organ. With American Heart Month, and of course Valentine's Day, we've been reminiscing about the best heart-health advice mbg has gleaned from experts. Here are three we can't stop thinking about:
Eat more fruits and veggies.
This advice is certainly not new, but it still holds up. While most diets are focused on taking foods away, bariatric surgeon Garth Davis, M.D., is all about what we should be adding to our plates.
"I think [the healthiest diet is] heavy in vegetables and fruits, and it's heavy in starches, too," Davis said during a mindbodygreen podcast episode. Eating this way helped Davis lower his cholesterol, his calcium heart score (aka the buildup of calcium deposits on the arteries), and his overall risk for developing heart disease.
To add more satiety to these plant-based dishes, Davis incorporates protein and fiber-packed seed and legumes, nuts, and even sourdough bread, into his diet.
This is not to say certain animal-based foods can't be heart-healthy or that everyone should be following a plant-based, vegan diet. In fact, fatty fish (think salmon or tuna) are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have cardioprotective effects1.
Davis is simply stating that meat-eaters, pescatarians, and vegans alike can all benefit from adding more nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to their daily diets.
Spend time meditating or praying.
According to clinical neuroscientist psychiatrist Daniel Amen, M.D., heart health and mental health are more connected than people may think. "In fact, people with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases2, even at young ages," Amen previously wrote for mbg.
Meaning, taking care of our hearts goes beyond diet and exercise—it also requires us to give serious attention and care to our mental health. One way to do that is by meditating or praying for 10 to 20 minutes every day, Amen suggests. "In 2017, the American Heart Association suggested that 'meditation may be considered as an adjunct to guideline-directed cardiovascular risk reduction,'" he cited.
Not sure where to begin? Here: five tried-and-true tips to deepen your meditation practice.
Promote good circulation.
The heart is in charge of pumping blood and oxygen throughout the body3, also known as circulation. While this natural process may seem beyond our control, there are various lifestyle choices that can enhance healthy blood circulation.
"Increasing your blood flow can help you feel energized and increase physical and mental performance, and yoga can be a simple, effective tool for increasing your circulation," registered yoga teacher Claire Grieve once told mbg. These five juicy poses are a great starting point.
You can also lie on your back with your legs up the wall. This move, which helps blood flow in the opposite direction, is especially helpful after a long day of sitting or standing.
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.