UCLA Cardiologists Offer Heart-Healthy Advice

UCLA Cardiologists Offer Heart-Healthy Advice

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You are never too young to consider your heart health. As a college student, you are exposed to germs, fatty foods and binge drinking, what can make you sick, wreck your health or even kill you.

February is American Heart Month and to that end the cardiologists from the UCLA Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Health Program have offered 12 tips to for a healthier heart.

1. Stay active. All activities that get your heart rate up count (mowing the lawn, walking around the block, strenuous housework). Thirty minutes per day of physical activity is the goal.

2. Go nuts. Nuts have many heart benefits. They are rich in monounsaturated oils and some even contain omega 3 fats (the heart healthy fats typically found in fish). A handful of nuts a day (12-15 nuts) are a smart addition to your diet.

3. Manage stress. Use whatever helps to reduce stress. Try exercise, meditation or yoga.

4. Sip your favorite brew. Emerging research shows that both coffee and tea in moderation boost heart health.

5. Eat an egg — it’s OK! Eggs get a reprieve with new guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association that allow an occasional egg as part of a heart healthy diet.

6. Limit solid fats. Reduce the amount of solid fats like margarine, butter or lard. Harmful fats (saturated and trans fats) are solid at room temperature while healthful fats (monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fats) are liquid at room temperature (like olive oil).

7. Limit screen time (TV, computer, addictive cell phone games) as much as possible. Excessive “sitting” time is associated with heart disease.

8. Get your Zzzzzzs. Try to get seven to eight hours of good quality sleep each night. Sleep deprivation can harm your health. People who don’t get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. Too much sleep is also associated with poorer health. Getting more than 10 hours of sleep per night is also associated with disease.

9. Connect with friends, family and loved ones.

10. Enjoy a bit of chocolate. That is, if it’s dark. Dark chocolate is actually heart healthy but only in small amounts (about an ounce daily).

11. Attain or maintain optimal weight. Healthy diet, physical activity, managing stress, and getting adequate sleep will all help you achieve this goal, and ultimately reduce your risk of getting heart disease.

12. Make sure you can recognize the early signs of a heart attack. Tightness or discomfort in the chest, neck, arm or stomach which comes on with exertion (either physical or emotional) and goes away with rest may be the first sign of a heart attack.

To Your Health

A number of the tips offered by cardiologists should be good news for college students. Take note of the third tip, stress, especially as you prepare for mid-terms, then your final exams. That tip ties in with No. 8, quality sleep. The good news is that some of your favorite eats —egg (No. 5) and chocolate (No. 10) are fine if eaten in moderation.

Point No. 9 may not get enough attention, given the difficulty some students have in transitioning to college. If you are struggling, let those who care about you know. Further, a visit to the college health clinic can help too. The last point, heart attack, may seem like a distant issue, but if your health is out of balance now you could face trouble at a young age.

More Information — UCLA cardiologists offer heart-healthy tips

See Also — College: Don’t Go it Alone

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Categories: Personal Advice