4 Heart-Health Habits to Start Now

Minor upgrades, tweaks, and a relaxation technique to keep your ticker in great shape

by Giovanni Campanile, M.D.

1. Toss walnuts on everythingnuts

Their omega-3 fatty acids keep your entire cardiovascular system running smoothly–they’ve been proven to lower bloodpressure, reduce the risk of blood clots, and prevent heart attacks. Also rich in healthy fats: wild sockeye salmon, black cod, sardines, flaxseeds, and soybeans. Twice a week, incorporate such an omega-3 heavy hitter into your meals, or take an EPA and DHA supplement daily.

2. While you’re at it, include spices

Some of the most flavorful spices can help relieve harmful inflammation, reduce cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. Aim to use cardio-protective seasonings like ginger, garlic, turmeric, and cayenne pepper daily.

3. Do mini workouts

Exercise reduces cardiovascular inflammation, lowers bad cholesterol, and makes your arteries more flexible. And your heart benefits from even short bursts of activity. Your goal: a total accumulation of 150 minutes per week–counting everything, down to the 15 minute walk you took during a lunch errand and the few minutes of ab toning in the morning.

4. Meditate for 10 minutes

Meditative breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which regulates blood pressure and heart rateyoga. A method called Bhramari Pranayama can relax you quickly: Place your thumbs over each ear canal, set the pads of your index and
middle finger over your eyelids, and rest your ring fingers on either side of your nose. Inhale for five seconds, then exhale for 15 while making a low humming sound (ahhhhhummmm).