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Our experts share heart health tips

Toronto, February 16, 2017

By Emily Holton

For Heart Month, we asked our experts to share their top tips for heart health. Here's what they said:

image of a lunch box with the words bring your lunch to work

Dr. Beth Abramson, cardiologist

If you brought your lunch to work today, you’ve probably done your heart (and your wallet!) a favour.

Her top tips for a healthy heart:

  1. Walking is good for the heart. Take some extra steps today!
  2. Make sure to get your blood pressure checked. High blood pressure is a silent killer; you don't know what yours is until it's measured.
  3. For a healthy body weight, don't drink your calories. Avoid pop, fruit juices‎ and alcoholic drinks.
  4. ‎Bring your lunch to work. Smaller portions are healthier portions.

ICYMI: Here’s a great Toronto Star Q&A on how Dr. Abramson and fellow St. Mike’s cardiologist Dr. Chi-Ming Chow keep their own hearts healthy » http://on.thestar.com/2lSxkZO

image of a squirrel with the words eat nuts, but don't go overboard

Ada Andrade, nurse practitioner, Heart and Vascular Program

Seven important steps to a healthy heart include:

  1. Quit smoking.
  2. Know your numbers: blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol.
  3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Include them with every meal and snack.
  4. Eat a balanced breakfast every day.
  5. Take the stairs or park your car far from your destination.
  6. Learn to read food labels (saturated and trans fat, sugars, salt, fibre content). Here's a great resource » http://bit.ly/2lbA2tP
  7. Eat a handful of nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans). But not too much, as they are high in calories.

image of a man skipping rope with the words exercise for 30 minutes daily, at least

Diana Harris, clinical leader-manager, Cardiovascular ICU
Joanna Parkes, physiotherapist, Heart and Vascular Program

If you’ve already exercised for 30 minutes today or if you plan to, great! If not, there’s still time. It’s Diana Harris’ top tip for heart health.

“Healthy food choices and 30 minutes of daily exercise,” says Harris. “That’s all the heart needs to survive.”

Heart and Vascular Program physiotherapist Joanna Parkes agrees. “Everyone needs to keep active to stay healthy. The Heart and Stoke Foundation recommends 30 minutes of physical activity, five times per week. Remember to start slowly and build yourself up over time.”

image of two people hugging with the words hug someone you love

Dr. Paul Dorian, cardiac electrophysiologist

He recommends:

  1. Walk 7-10,000 steps every day.
  2. Eat food, mostly plants, and not too much. Don't worry so much about your diet.
  3. Hug someone you love.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.