If love lives in the heart, it is very important to keep your ticker healthy on Valentine's Day. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are 26.5 million non-institutionalized adults diagnosed with heart disease. There are some factors that predispose you to heart disease, like genetics, but there is plenty of weight placed on lifestyle choices. While the number of deaths varies according to gender and race, many people living with heart disease have the opportunity to turn things around. That is where healthcare professionals like Dr. Steven Masley, a fellow of the American Heart Association and author of ‘The 30 Day Heart Tune-Up’ come in.
''What you have to do to keep your heart healthy is improve the function of your arteries'' Dr. Masley advises.''You lose 20 percent of circulation in your arteries when you eat bad food.''
He further clarifies that people often feel it is the blocked arteries that cause the heart-health problems, but really the problem lies in the plaque build-up in the arteries that burst because the artery is not dilated. Mortality (albeit being an understandably large concern) isn’t the only thing worth worrying about when it comes to heart disease.
''Most Americans truly suffer from heart disease'' says Dr. Masley. ''Patients experience a myriad of complications, like a decrease sexual function.''
Most people believe that a procedure will help them; Dr. Masley assures them that it will only treat the immediate symptoms.
''You need to make a lifestyle change,'' Dr. Masley says. ''Especially for women, as research has indicated that the medicines do not work as well for them.''
In addition to being more active, a lifestyle change requires a diet change, and the best place to start is not only with better food, but smarter heart food.
''The biggest myth is that cholesterol causes heart disease, but it is sugar.'' Dr. Masley says. ''Refined carbs from foods like flour, even whole grain flour, causes a surge in blood sugar. We want people to add healthy protein and healthy fat. We want people to go for flavorful food as well, like spices and dark chocolate.''
In terms of where to start, there are a few heart healthy foods Dr. Masley recommends you put on your dietary radar. To find out why foods like berries, nuts and even dark chocolate are good for your heart, click throughout slideshow and begin your heart-healthy journey today!