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The HealthStyle File: How To Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke

What: By the time you finish reading this newsletter, another woman will die from heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men.

Why: Heart disease is still considered a “man’s disease” so women may not take their symptoms as seriously as they should. Often, physicians don’t think of checking women for heart problems and can misdiagnose a heart problem as a digestive disorder or a hormonal imbalance.

How: Here are some “unique” tips to help protect your body from heart disease (tips for women and men):

  1. Laugh more to lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure will dramatically increase your risk for heart disease. But walking and laughing helps to lower these numbers. Walking for 10 minutes can help to lower your blood pressure for 3-4 hours. Laughing can relax all of your muscles, resulting in lower blood pressure.
  2. Go on vacation-somewhere warm! Thirty minutes of daily sunshine has been shown to lower your blood pressure. Research shows that if your blood levels of vitamin D are below 15 ng/ml, you have twice the risk of heart attack or stroke. If you live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sunshine, talk to your doctor about supplementing your diet with a good vitamin D3. My favorite is Thorne.
  3. Make friends with your dentist. Gum disease has been shown to double your risk of stroke.
  4. Oh nuts! That’s right, eat more nuts. Studies have shown that walnuts have a heart protective element, even if you’re eating high fat (bad) foods. Keep a serving of walnuts in your car to eat after you gobble down your drive-thru double cheese burger. Or perhaps skip the burger…
  5. Something smells fishy-and I want it to be you! Studies have shown that eating fish 2-4 times per week can reduce your risk of stroke by 50%. Fish oil is also helpful, but talk to your physician before supplementing your diet with fish oils. And my personal favorite?
  6. Get more sleep!  One study found that people who slept five hours or less a night had more plaque build up than those who slept seven hours. While it is too early for me to suggest “you can sleep your way to better health”, I must say, I like the concept!
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