Mercy Health Offers Top Seven Heart Health Tips

(CINCINNATI; June 8, 2016) – Mercy Health - Cincinnati, which provides advanced, quality, compassionate care in your neighborhood through its care network, is helping you start a heart-healthy routine with tips from Joe N. Hackworth, MD, a heart specialist with Mercy Health — The Heart Institute.

“Sometimes it’s easy to forget about taking care of your heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and African-Americans are more likely to have three conditions that contribute to the disease: high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. For anyone with these conditions, it's possible to dramatically reduce your risk by making small changes to your diet and lifestyle,” says Dr. Hackworth. "Patients who follow these seven recommendations do very well and enjoy much better long-term outcomes."

One - Limit "bad" fats. Saturated fat and trans fat contribute to both obesity and high blood pressure. To limit your intake of saturated fat to no more than 10 percent of your daily calories, go easy on foods like red meat, coconut and palm oils, and full-fat dairy products. You want to avoid trans fats so steer clear of deep-fried dishes and packaged foods that list "partially hydrogenated" on the nutrition label.

Two - Load up on fiber. Dietary fiber, which is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts, can lower your blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels and decrease your risk of stroke and diabetes. For the average 2,000-calorie daily diet, aim to get 25 grams of fiber.

Three - Shake the salt habit. Because sodium increases your blood pressure, try to consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium (about 1 teaspoon of salt) per day from all the foods you eat. Instead, add flavor with herbs and spices or a dash of wine, lemon juice or vinegar.

Four - Don't add sugar. Consuming too much "added sugar" — the natural and processed sugars in bottled or canned food and drinks — can contribute to obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Women should consume no more than six teaspoons or 100 calories of sugar a day, and men should limit their intake to nine teaspoons or 150 calories a day, according to the American Heart Association.

Five - Eat more minerals. To fight the effects of salt on your blood pressure, eat more foods that are rich in potassium and magnesium, such as dark leafy greens, fish, bananas, beans, avocados and yogurt. Foods that are high in calcium, like milk, broccoli, kale and edamame (soybeans), also can help prevent high blood pressure.

Six - Stay active. Aerobic exercise is important for staying at a healthy weight and keeping your heart strong. To reduce your risk of heart disease, plan to get about 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days. If you’re trying to lose weight, aim for 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.

Seven - Make sleep a priority. Getting less than least seven hours of sleep each night has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Think of your bedtime as an appointment, and create a routine that encourages your brain to wind down.

Take control of your heart health. Mercy Health's specialists are here to help. Dr. Hackworth practices from Mercy Health - The Heart Institute, Rookwood, 4101 Edwards Road, Second Floor
Cincinnati, OH 45209-1609, 513-985-0741.

To learn more about The Heart Institute and its services or for more heart health tips, visit