17 Ways to Safeguard Your Heart
Start With Breakfast
Have a low-cholesterol breakfast. Every morning Goldberg and her husband eat breakfast together. “I have a bowl of high-fiber, low-sugar cereal, like Kashi
GoLean, with low-fat milk and antioxidant-rich blueberries,” she says. Fiber is filling, and the soluble form―found in oatmeal,
beans, fruits, vegetables, and this cereal―can lower cholesterol. Aim for 25 grams of fiber a day.
Take a supplement, if necessary. “A healthy diet is still the best way to get your nutrients,” says Goldberg. “A bag of chips washed down with a vitamin isn’t a good solution.” However, she does suggest taking an omega-3 fatty-acid supplement daily if you don’t eat fish regularly. Choose one with the two forms of the acids that aid the heart: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Or twice a week set a goal for having two to three servings of natural omega-3 sources, like a small handful of walnuts or a 3 1/2-ounce portion of salmon. (For those with high triglyceride levels, she recommends prescription-strength omega-3s.)
Be honest with your doctors. Goldberg implores patients to see her as a nonjudgmental confidante. “I’ve had people on cholesterol-lowering drugs neglect to take them and not tell me. So I then check their blood and consider increasing their dosage unnecessarily,” she says. “No one should ever be embarrassed when it comes to their health. Your doctors can give you the best help only when they really know all the information.”
Take baby aspirin, if needed. For those people who are at high risk for heart disease, who have it, or who are over the age of 65, Goldberg often suggests taking a daily baby aspirin (81 milligrams). “I tell many of my patients to take one,” she says. “This is a cheap and effective prevention strategy.”
So maybe you can’t change your health overnight. But you can get a head start.