Heart Smart

Reduce your risk of a heart attack


Tip Solution:

  • Add strawberries and blueberries to your salads and smoothies three weekly servings can cut your risk of a heart attack by 34%.
  • Turns out your waistline is really important: Research suggests that having a larger waist size, even if you’re not obese, may be a predictor of heart disease in women.
  • Exercise alone can reduce your risk of heart attacks by 35 to 50 percent.
  • Cut out processed sugar.  Information published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who consumed diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates were twice as likely to suffer from heart disease compared with their lower carb counterparts.


Dr Oz’s advice for prevention and recovery for a heart healthy attitude:


1. Put yourself first. Think of being in an airplane you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you assist others.  “Women often don’t take care of themselves,” says Dr. Oz. “They put other priorities first, such as taking care of their families. Then, when their health suffers because of that, their stress level may increase and their self-esteem may decrease.”


2. Use stress-reduction techniques. Studies show that stress has been linked to the spasms that can lead to heart attack, says Dr. Oz. “And though studies show that women and men experience the same stress levels at work, when men go home, their stress levels drop, but women’s increase. So women need to learn to cope with it. Whatever helps you relax, whether it’s meditation, yoga, massage, listening to soothing music — make time to do it.” Taking time to counter stress is particularly important in patients being treated for heart disease. Research is continuing on women using yoga and guided-imagery audiotapes to reduce complications and prevent death after open-heart surgery; another trial is showing an interesting trend toward fewer deaths and complications in heart patients who use prayer and meditation.


3. Change your diet. Wean yourself off high-glycemic “white foods” such as bread, rice, pasta, and sugar, says Dr. Oz, which can lead to diabetes, a particularly severe heart disease risk factor for women. The second taboo is fried foods, because studies show that oils oxidize into damaging free radicals at the high temperatures used for frying. Eat lots of colorful vegetables and fruits for their free radical-fighting antioxidants. “Healthy omega-3 fats found in oily fish or as a two-gram supplement are great for the heart,” he says. “And drink lots of water to keep your system flushed, which may also reduce heart attacks.” Women who drink five glasses of water a day are 41 percent less likely to die from a heart attack than those who drink two or fewer glasses, according to a study published in 2002 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.


4. Have sex. You already know that exercise reduces your risk of heart disease. The good news: Dr. Oz says sexual activity counts. “People are less likely to have a heart attack if they have an active sex life with their spouse.” (If you’re married and having sex with someone other than your spouse, though, that’s stressful and thus might increase your risk, he warns.) Risk of death from coronary artery disease is about 50 percent lower among people with high orgasmic frequency (twice a week or more) than in people with low orgasmic frequency (less than monthly), concludes a study published in the British Medical Journal in 1997. “People who have more than 100 orgasms each year live longer,” says Dr. Oz, “so having sex two times weekly is the magic number