Keep Your Heart Healthy

How We Can Do Our Part For Our Hearts

There’s a lot most of us can learn about keeping our hearts healthy. Below you can find resources that will help us do our part for our hearts by understanding heart disease, risk factors, and prevention.

How to prevent, spot and treat heart disease at any stage

Mario J. Garcia, MD, explains how three main factors, not including age and family history, can increase your risk for heart disease. About half of all Americans experience at least one of these: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. The good news is that just a few lifestyle changes can reduce your risk. Start with a low-fat, well-balanced diet, work toward 150 minutes of exercise per week (taking the stairs and walking more counts), practice stress management and avoid smoking.

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Fighting heart disease one plant at a time

Robert Ostfeld, MD, MSc. details how a diet that focuses on pants, and less on meat and dairy, reduces the risk of developing heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. A little goes a long way when it comes to eating more fruits, vegetables, beans, and lentils. A healthy plant-based diet focuses primarily on fresh or minimally processed foods that include all the colors of the rainbow. For maximum health benefits, it avoids red meat like beef, pork, and lamb and processed meats like bacon, sausage, and cured deli cuts. Pointing yourself in the right direction towards a healthy heart is easier than you think. Dr. Ostfeld offers 4 simple ways to get started.

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Five Heart Health Must-Haves

Your heart is a vital organ that keeps your body functioning. Even if you already have heart disease, you can benefit from making healthy choices in your life. Here are Five must-haves to improve your heart health.

Eating a nutritious diet is a proven way to reduce the risk for heart disease. These are the elements of a heart-healthy diet (amounts listed are for adults):

  • Eat 2 cups of fresh fruits and 2-1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables every day.
  • Limit saturated and trans fats by using olive oil or other vegetable oils instead of butter or margarine. Remember also to limit the total fat intake to less than 30 percent of your daily calories.
  • Eat more chicken and fish, and less red meat.
  • Eat 6 to 8 ounces of grains, of which at least half should be from whole-grain bread and cereal.
  • Limit or eliminate fast foods, which are often loaded with salt, sugar and fats.
  • If you drink alcohol, do so moderately. That means no more than two drinks a day if you’re a man, one if you’re a woman.
  • Limit your salt/sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day. In January 2010, the American Heart Association reduced its previous sodium intake recommendations and identified 1,500 mg of sodium per day as the target intake for all Americans.
  • Get the equivalent of 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk or dairy products every day.

Regular exercise keeps your heart and the rest of your body in shape. These are ways to add more activity to your life:

  • Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program if you’ve been sedentary and/or have a chronic disease.
  • Start slowly and increase your activity gradually to a total of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise most days of the week.
  • Do weight training and stretching exercises several times a week.

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. Here’s how to live smoke-free:

  • Decide to quit and set a quit date. Try again if you fail. Successful quitters have “quit” an average of nine times.
  • Ask your doctor for information about cessation aids, such as a nicotine patch or inhaler and a counseling/support program.

Chronic anger and stress can damage your heart. Try these suggestions to better cope with life’s pressures:

  • Try to be positive instead of negative in your outlook on life.
  • Take 15 to 20 minutes a day to sit quietly and breathe deeply.
  • Take time for yourself each day. Read a book, listen to music, or enjoy a hobby.

Be proactive when it comes to your heart's health. To do so, work with your healthcare provider to reduce your heart disease risk by following up with him or her for treatment for high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Photo Taken during Heart Month 2020

Staying Active and Managing your Diet

Exercise and nutrition are at the core of maintaining a healthy heart. One of our Montefiore Einstein partner sites offers a variety of videos to help you maintain a heart-healty lifestyle.

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Ulrich Jorde, MD, is Head of Heart Failure, Cardiac Transplantation & Mechanical Circulatory Support, and Vice Chief, Division of Cardiology, Montefiore.
Marie Galvao, NP, is on the staff at the Center for Advanced Cardiac Therapy at Montefiore.

Successfully Managing Heart Failure in 2023

Twenty years ago, a patient with advanced heart failure had only a ten percent chance of living for one year. Now, that rate is 90 percent, notes Ulrich Jorde, MD, Head of Heart Failure, Cardiac Transplantation & Mechanical Circulatory Support, and Vice Chief, Division of Cardiology, Montefiore Einstein. A greater understanding of the condition, new medications, and advances in surgical options to assist the failing heart are helping many of the six million Americans with heart failure successfully manage their condition.

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COVID-19 and heart health: The big impact that is 100% avoidable

People with heart conditions are among the group hit hardest by COVID-19, and we continue to study the specific links between this infection and cardiovascular disease. While we’re certain the virus interacts with the heart in a number of ways, there’s at least one needless impact of the pandemic on people with heart disease that is 100% avoidable.

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The Heart & COVID-19

How does COVID-19 affect the heart? Montefiore Einstein’s Division of Cardiology Chief, Dr. Mario Garcia, discusses how COVID-19 affects the heart, what vascular conditions can be caused by COVID-19, who is most at risk, some forms of prevention and when it is important to seek medical care.

National Wear Red Day!

National Wear Red Day will be on February 2, 2024. This annual celebration encourages women to take charge of their heart health at a time when heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. Montefiore doctors are here for you. Let’s do our part for our hearts!