There isn’t a muscle in your body that’s more important than your heart. Here’s the know-how you need to protect against disease and keep it healthy.
IN THIS FESTIVE SEASON, you’re probably not devoting too much thought to your heart. But it turns out caring for that 8-oz. hunk of muscle is especially vital at this time of year: Statistics show that around the holidays, deaths from heart disease spike. Researchers aren’t sure exactly why, although more booze, fatty food, and stress are all likely culprits.
And heart trouble doesn’t just affect women who are older. “The crazy thing is that in recent years, I’ve seen an increased incidence in heart disease in women under 50,” says Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, a cardiologist and volunteer medical expert for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement. “It’s a societal issue,” she explains. “Our lifestyles have become more sedentary and our diets are full of fast, processed foods.”
Now here’s the good news: “Eighty percent of the time, heart disease is preventable,” says Dr. Steinbaum. “A lot of it comes down to exercising regularly, relieving stress, and eating well.” If you can figure out how to take those steps, she adds, you have very good odds of staying healthy. Read on for expert tips and research-backed strategies to do just that.
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