A Healthy Heart

There are a few tips that I give to my patients with hypertension, coronary heart disease, cardiomyopathy, and/or other heart conditions.

  1. Reduce your salt intake. Nowadays, most people are good with the salt shaker. But now, we have “hidden salt”. It’s the salt that sneaks up on my patients. It’s the one found in canned goods and frozen foods, without you even realizing it. What’s helpful is knowing how to read a food label. Here’s a link that may be helpful: https://www.cardiosmart.org/~/media/Documents/Fact%20Sheets/en/zp3768.ashx

2. Reduce your pork intake. This is the hardest conversation that I have with patients since I live in NC, where delicious pork BBQ thrives haha! I usually get laughed at when I tell my patients to cut back on pork ribs, pork chops, bacon, and pulled pork. But nonetheless, leaner meats are better. Chicken, turkey, and salmon are always a better option.

3. Stop smoking! I probably should’ve put this as number one but I love food…so…here we are at number three haha! If you need some nicoderm patches or gum, please see the following link: https://www.quit.com/maintain/quit-smoking-hotlines.html

Simply put, smoking causes buildup in your arteries, which then leads to a heart attack, stroke, and/or death.

4. And stop with the sugary drinks! There is a lot of research out there that shows that having one sugary drink per day increases your risk of heart disease and stroke significantly! I also find this to be a hard one for my patients. It’s hard to stop all sugary drinks all of a sudden. To my patients who drink both juices and sodas, I tell them to cut out one to start with. If you buy sodas at the grocery store, don’t buy juices, and vice versa.

See an article about this, written by the American Heart Association: https://www.heart.org/en/news/2020/05/13/even-1-sugary-drink-a-day-could-boost-heart-disease-stroke-risk-in-women

5. Exercise! Exercise 20-30 minutes per day. That includes anything from walking, running, riding a bike, swimming, Zumba, Tae Bo, or even jump roping.

Lastly, where is your heart kept?

When you wake up each day, where does your heart lead you? Some people have children that steal their hearts with every smile, laugh, and drawing given to them. Some people have a spouse that surprises them with an Edible Arrangement (yum!). Others FaceTime with friends, read a good book, or enjoy a hike outdoors.

Although I agree that all of the above would make my heart flutter, my heart belongs to God.

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. Matthew 22:37-38 NLT

When my daughter frustrates me, when my husband forgets to pay a bill, or when a friendship ends, I remind myself where my heart belongs. It belongs with the One who loved me first.

My heart with God helps me choose my words wisely in anger, helps me approach the unpaid bill with forgiveness, and allows me to let go of friendships that weren’t meant to last forever.

By loving God with all my heart, I am entering into an endless, infinite relationship that then strengthens my earthly relationships because it is modeled after God, who IS perfect love.

When I focus on my love for God in my heart, I can’t help but show that love outwards.

Have you ever had such wonderful, exciting news that you felt like you were going to burst unless you shared that news with someone?

THAT is what it feels like leaving your heart with God. You’re placing your heart in safe-keeping in the good times, the bad times, and the trying times. In return, he provides peace and love. He provides a healthy heart.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. -Psalm 37:4 NLT

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