Guest post by Dr. Joel Kahn, a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan Inteflex Medical School program and a board certified interventional cardiologist. He has published over 150 medical research articles. He is the first physician in the world to be complete certification from University of South Florida School of Medicine in Metabolic and Integrative Cardiology. He is a founder of the International Society of Integrative and Metabolic Cardiology. He is an editorial consult for Reader’s Digest Magazine and writes a weekly column on holistic medicine for www.mindbodygreen.com. He lectures nationwide on nutrition and heart disease prevention. He lives in West Bloomfield with his wife Karen and is the proud father of 4 children.
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Heart Healthy? It is as easy as 1-2-3 (4-5)
Every 34 seconds someone in the U.S. has a heart attack. Is it necessary? The simple answer is no! Over 80% of heart attacks are preventable and people who are dying or are maimed by weak hearts do not need to suffer. Does it take a Ph.D to make your way through confusing health messages? While my book, The Whole Heart Solution, explains over 6 dozen simple steps that you can take to protect your heart from damage, the most important steps boil down to 5 easy ones. Let’s review 2 recent studies and keep it simple.
1) The Morgen Study. Researchers in the Netherlands studied almost 18,000 adults without heart disease and took a survey of their health habits. They followed them for up to 14 years and over 600 of the group had heart events including deaths. They found that if people followed 4 steps they were able to lower their risk of heart disease by 67% and these included:
- Physical activity average 30 minutes a day
- A healthy diet in the Mediterranean style
- No smoking
- Enjoying more than 1 alcoholic beverage a month
In the same study, persons that added a 5th health habit, sleeping 7 or more hours at night on average, the risk of heart disease dropped to 83% lower than those not following these steps.
2) The Karolinska Study. Scientists in Sweden examined over 20,000 men free of heart disease and followed them for 11 years. They found that there were certain habits that lowered the risk of heart disease including:
- A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains and reduced fat
- No smoking
- Moderate alcohol consumption
- Thin waistlines
- Physical activity > 40 minutes daily.
Men that followed all 5 of this lifestyle habits had an 86% lower chance of developing or dying of heart disease than those that followed none. Sadly, only 1% of the group followed all 5 habits.
So, the message is clear. You should learn about xeno-estrogens in plastics, endocrine disruptors in toothpaste, air pollution, and plastic additives in bread. However, if you can develop some simple habits consistently for you and your family you never need to suffer a heart attack…or worse. The number one killer of men and women in the USA can be tamed with your fork, your feet, your fingers far from cigarettes, and some responsible use of a small glass of wine. So it’s as easy as 1-2-3 (4-5) including
- Plant based diet
- Regular physical activity
- No smoking
- Occasional alcoholic beverage (if not an issue)
- Adequate sleep