Ascension Seton is committed to offering the best care possible through health education, wellness and preventive care. Part of our mission to deliver person-centered care is to help you stay healthy for a lifetime. We offer a variety of programs and tools that help promote heart-healthy diet and lifestyle choices. Remember that regular primary care also plays an important role in overall heart health and preventing heart conditions. If you do not have a primary care physician, we invite you to visit the Ascension Seton Family of Doctors to find quality care close to home.
Please request an appointment online at one of our heart care locations for more information or call toll-free 877-860-1141.
A Heart-Healthy Diet
Multiple studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is heart-healthy, whether you have a history of heart disease or not. Those who follow this type of diet have been shown to live longer, have fewer heart attacks and strokes and have lower risks of developing Type II diabetes.
The focus of the Mediterranean diet is to eat foods that are:
- “Whole” (unprocessed)
- Low in saturated fats
- Low in processed sugars
- Low in salt
Exercising Your Heart Muscle
The heart is a muscle that pumps all day, every day. Just like any muscle, exercising your heart makes it stronger. This is done by increasing your heart rate. A faster heartbeat means that there’s a larger volume of blood being pumped through the heart, so it can work better even when at rest. Greater blood flow also means the body makes more blood vessels, which improves how efficient your circulation is.
Even exercising as little as 30 minutes per day can help:
- Prevent excess weight gain (obesity is a risk factor for heart disease).
- Lower high blood pressure.
- Boost your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and lower your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.
- Reduce stress levels.
Even moderate amounts of exercise can be great for your heart. Aerobic exercises, like jogging, swimming or cycling, are best for strengthening your heart and lungs.
Having a strong, healthy heart lowers your chances of developing heart disease. In fact, studies show that people who don’t exercise are twice as likely to be diagnosed with heart problems. However, always remember to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.
Stress and Your Heart
Keeping your mental health on track is also important to keeping your heart healthy. Although it’s normal to go through occasional times that are more stressful than others, chronic stress can mean your body is more likely to develop plaque buildup inside your arteries.
Perhaps more important than the stress itself is the way you react during these periods. People who feel emotionally stressed out are often more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors to try and feel better. For example, they may smoke or drink alcohol more, or overeat. All of these activities have a negative effect on your heart. It’s hard to say whether the stress or the reaction to stress is more of a contributing factor to heart disease. However, taking steps to make your physical and emotional health top priorities can only be beneficial to your heart health.
Our cardiac team regularly conducts presentations and lunch-and-learns on heart health topics for local employers, clinicians and community members. To request a speaker, please contact us.