Eat small amounts of lean protein (poultry and seafood), and plenty of whole grains (rice, quinoa, millet, kasha, oats, whole-grain pasta), beans and nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, garlic, olive oil, and red wine. Treat yourself to dark chocolate, olives, and small amounts of feta and parmesan cheese, and enjoy relaxing meals with family and friends.
Get your heart rate up for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Brisk walking, swimming, and biking are great.
Prayer, yoga, deep breathing, meditation, self-hypnosis, napping, laughter and loving relationships are all good ways to cope with strain and tension.
Decrease your intake of saturated fat and eliminate trans fat; get plenty of exercise; manage your stress; and stop smoking. If these lifestyle changes aren't enough, there are medications you can take to lower blood pressure.
Consume plenty of fiber from whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Oats, cold water fish, red wine, cinnamon, olive oil and soy protein are particularly good for lowering cholesterol. If diet alone doesn't get you to your cholesterol goal, there are medications, such as statins, that can help.
Get plenty of antioxidants in your diet by eating fruits and vegetables from every color group each day -- orange, yellow, red, blue, purple, and green. Smoking greatly increases free radicals, as do toxins in the form of pollutants and chemicals in processed foods, so avoid these.
Get lots of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, primarily found in fatty fish, but also in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and walnuts.
One in four Americans have metabolic syndrome, characterized by three or more of the following: 1. abdominal obesity (waist size larger than 40 inches for men and larger than 35 inches for women); 2. impaired fasting glucose (more than 100 mg/dl); 3. high blood pressure (more than 130/85 mmHg); 4) elevated triglycerides (more than 150 mg/dl); and 5. low "good" HDL cholesterol (less than 40 for men and less than 50 for women). Diabetes is defined as a fasting blood sugar less than 125 mg/dl.
In addition to the head-to-toe examination, ask your doctor for an advanced lipid test -- a comprehensive blood test that detects heart disease risk far better than the standard lipid profile.
Some of the most overused and abused tests, which can lead to dangerous radiation exposure or unnecessary cardiac intervention, include 64-slice CAT scan, nuclear stress tests, coronary calcium scans, cardiac catheterizations, and often coronary stent placements and coronary bypass surgery. Want to know more about Dr. Ozner's approach and views? Read his two books: The recently released The Great American Heart Hoax: Lifesaving Advice Your Doctor Should Tell You About Heart Disease Prevention (But Probably Never Will) and the best-selling The Miami Mediterranean Diet.
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