February 28, 2020

Keep your heart healthy and strong

Kaiser Permanente offers simple tips for a healthy life.

Caring for your heart is important, and these simple lifestyle changes can lead to a healthier life.

“Taking care of your heart should be an everyday commitment,” said Jennifer Nguyen, MD, a cardiologist with Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center. “Eating healthy, exercising, and making the right choices to protect your health are the main steps you should take to ensure a healthy heart.”

According to Dr. Nguyen, following the guidelines below will go a long way toward protecting your heart.

Eat right

To help keep your heart and blood vessels in good shape, consider eating heart-healthy food that includes fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins (such as fish, chicken, beans, nuts, and low-fat dairy) and whole grains.

Beware of alcohol

Limit alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks a day for men, and one drink a day for women. Excessive consumption of alcohol is bad for your health, as it can raise your cholesterol level and blood pressure.

Exercise

Too tired to exercise? Think again! To strengthen your heart muscle, you should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days. If you can't do all 30 minutes at once, do 10 minutes at a time. Brisk walking, swimming, or cycling are especially good for the heart.

Dr. Nguyen cautions against doing too much exercise too soon, however. "Make sure you start at a level you're comfortable with and build up gradually." And of course, check with your personal physician before starting a new exercise regimen.

Keep a healthy weight

Did you know that lowering your weight by just 10% can make a significant difference in reducing your risk of heart disease?

Reduce stress

It’s been proven that stress, anger, anxiety, and depression can keep your blood pressure high and increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other illnesses.

Quit smoking

We all know smoking is bad for our health and is a leading cause of heart disease and death. That’s why it’s never too late to quit. Kaiser Permanente offers tips on how you can quit smoking.

For more tips to keep your heart healthy, check out these Kaiser Permanente health and wellness resources.