Heart Health Basics: An Overview
Lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke and ensure optimal heart health by making changes in six lifestyle areas
A healthy heart begins with a healthy lifestyle. Literally everything you do for your health has an impact on how efficiently your heart functions—and how efficiently your heart functions determines your quality of life. That’s why I recommend that everyone live by the following six principles, regardless of age or health status.
These principles, which I briefly summarize below, are specifically targeted to combat what I believe to be the core cause of heart disease: low-grade inflammation within the body. Research has indeed confirmed that internal inflammation leads to a weakening and rupture of arterial plaques, which in turn causes heart attacks and strokes. This is why more than half of the people who have heart attacks and strokes have normal cholesterol levels.
After successfully treating thousands of patients, I’ve seen that directly attacking inflammation with the right diet, natural supplements, and lifestyle changes is the best way to treat and prevent heart disease. So improve your heart health, lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, and ultimately achieve your goal of total wellness with my following six principles.
- Principle No. 1: A Heart-Healthy Diet
- Principle No. 2: Targeted Nutritional Supplements
- Principle No. 3: Regular Exercise
- Principle No. 4: Mind-Body Balance
- Principle No. 5: Detoxification
- Principle No. 6: Earthing
WATCH: Learn About Dr. Sinatra's Six Core Principles for Maximizing Heart Health
Principle No. 1: A Heart-Healthy Diet
Eating well is the foundation of good health. Food provides your body with the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to create and burn energy, and to expel waste. Therefore, the type and quality of food you eat has a significant influence on how well the body can carry out those functions.
I‘m a big believer in what I call the Pan-Asian Mediterranean (PAM) diet—a combination of the diet followed by the people on the Greek island of Crete (also known as the Mediterranean diet) and a diet common among people living on the Asian side of the Pacific Rim. The Cretan, or Mediterranean, diet is a primitive diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fresh fish, various kinds of beans, monounsaturated olive oil, and sauces occasionally flavored with some lamb, turkey, or chicken. The diet favored around the Pacific Rim is bountiful with fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, locally harvested seaweeds, and soy products. What makes both of these diets so beneficial to heart health is that they are rich in omega-3 fats, which curb inflammation. Learn in-depth about the PAM diet and optimal heart health.
Principle No. 2: Targeted Nutritional Supplements
You may wonder why, if you‘re following a healthy diet, you need nutritional supplements. That‘s a good question. The answer is simply that no diet is foolproof—no matter how well you eat, it’s difficult to guarantee that you’re consistently providing your body with the right amounts of nutrients. Additionally, many prescription medications deplete the body of essential nutrients. Over time, this can lead to notable deficiencies—and serious problems.
For optimal heart health—as well as general overall health—I recommend fortifying your diet with a few core nutritional supplements, then adding supplements based on your specific health needs. Finally, everyone with heart-health concerns should take the “Awesome Foursome.” That’s my name for the four supplements I believe are most crucial for energy production inside cells. This is particularly important in the heart, because the heart requires more energy than any other organ in the body. The more energy it can produce, the more efficient it will be.
Principle No. 3: Regular Exercise
No other lifestyle modification has such an immediate and long-lasting impact on your heart health and general well-being as regular exercise. Even simple exercises strengthen your heart and circulatory system, build stamina, and improve your state of mind. Best of all, you don’t have to lift heavy weights or spend hours at the gym to have a healthy heart and body. Instead, just follow my heart-healthy exercise tips to reap maximum cardiovascular benefits.
Principle No. 4: Mind-Body Balance
The connection between the mind and body is an aspect of heart health that’s often overlooked and even dismissed. Far too many people, including doctors, fail to see a relationship between physical feelings and emotions. I’m here to tell you that this connection is real, and it’s an important part of wellness. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you defuse stress, nurture a positive attitude, express your emotions, foster happiness, encourage laughter, and seek spiritual peace in order to have a healthy heart. That’s why regularly practicing stress-reduction techniques is crucial to maintaining the ideal mind-body balance that promotes optimal heart health.
Principle No. 5: Detoxification
No matter how closely we manage our health, we can’t escape the fact that we live in a toxic world. Our immune systems are under constant siege, working 24/7 to destroy the impurities in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the chemicals we apply to our skin. These toxins have been associated with all kinds of health conditions—including heart disease. While this may sound frightening, there are a number of simple strategies I recommend to detoxify the body and support a healthy heart.
Principle No. 6: Earthing
Earthing, also known as grounding, is the practice of physically reconnecting with the Earth either by going barefoot outside or sitting or lying on special conductive devices (such as pads for the floor or bed) that are plugged into a grounded electrical outlet. Both actions allow the free electrons of the Earth’s surface to enter the body, where they synchronize all of your bioelectrical systems and powerfully reduce inflammation—the real cause of arterial disease. I’ve been involved in some ongoing Earthing research, including an investigation into how it alters the electrical “charge” of your blood and improves its flow and viscosity. And other studies have shown that Earthing can help balance an over active sympathetic nervous system. Learn more about Earthing to improve heart health and overall well-being.
More Dr. Sinatra Advice on Heart Health
Have concerns about high blood pressure? Visit my Blood Pressure Health Center.
Have questions about healthy cholesterol levels? Visit my Cholesterol Health Center.
Have questions about the best tests to screen for heart disease? Visit my Diagnostics Health Center.
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Meet Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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