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Heart-Healthy Diet, Exercise & Lifestyle

Did you know that your diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease? Many common heart conditions like heart failure, coronary artery disease, and other heart conditions are preventable. 

At Dignity Health of Arizona, you can trust your heart health to our experts. If you want to learn more about a heart-healthy lifestyle in Arizona, Find a Doctor online or call (844) 231-0659.


Maintaining a Heart-Healthy Diet in Arizona

One of the most important things you can do for your heart is eat a healthy, nutrient rich diet. Keep in mind that when it comes to weight loss, how much you eat is as important as what you eat, so keep portion sizes in check. There are a variety of tools available to help you follow a heart-healthy diet, including the DASH diet and smartphone calorie trackers. 

For most people, a heart-healthy diet should include: 

  • A variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Lean proteins
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy fats in moderation

You also should significantly limit or eliminate a few foods from your diet. These include:

  • Sugar — limit added sugars to less than 10% of your total calories per day
  • Salt (s)odium — aim to consume less than 1,500 milligrams per day
  • Processed foods
  • Junk foods


The Importance of Exercise for Heart Health

Exercise is also essential in maintaining a healthy heart. If you’ve been cleared by a doctor to exercise regularly, you should aim for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Routine exercise can:

  • Help you lose weight/maintain a healthy weight
  • Strengthen your heart muscle
  • Reduce your cholesterol levels
  • Improve your body’s ability to use oxygen

Some people find it helpful to exercise with a fitness partner, in group, or at a gym. If you prefer to exercise at home, you can stream exercise videos online or use DVDs.


Lifestyle Changes for a Healthier Heart

In addition to eating well and exercising, you can make a few other lifestyle changes to benefit your heart health. These include:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Controlling your blood sugar if you have diabetes


Heart-Healthy Lifestyle with Dignity Health: Talk to Your Doctor

At Dignity Health, our expert cardiovascular care team is ready to help you create a lifestyle strategy for heart health and disease prevention. Be sure to discuss diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes with one of our doctors. In particular, make sure it’s OK for you to exercise and talk about which exercises are best for you. A heart-healthy lifestyle along with other screenings and treatments (like me)dications can help keep your heart strong for years to come.