15 Lifesaving Tips to Prevent Heart Disease, Approved by Cardiologists

Holistic heart doc Joel K. Kahn, MD, shares what doctors may not learn in medical school about heart disease prevention.

Top view of stethoscope on EKG graph or electrocardiogram to test measures the electrical signals that control heart rhythm.EAKASARN/SHUTTERSTOCK

I was about to deliver a lecture on preventive cardiology…

to second-year medical students who were well educated in determining cholesterol-lowering drugs and even performing bypass surgery. But how to ensure that a patient never ends up in a cardiologist’s office in the first place? I can’t believe what I’m not going to tell them, I thought. That’s why I wrote The Whole Heart Solution. It includes dozens of prescriptions that will help you make your heart last a very long time. None requires a trip to a drugstore.

15 Things You Should Never, Ever Discuss at Thanksgiving DinnerBRENT HOFACKER/SHUTTERSTOCK

The most powerful medicine: food

I’ve personally followed a plant-based diet for decades, but when the medical literature started reporting that this eating style helped reduce the rate of heart attacks, I began recommending it to patients. Many of them don’t go meat-free, but they still benefit from the advice that follows.

Green Smoothie with spinach celery cilantro, selective focusVM2002/SHUTTERSTOCK

Have at least five cups of veggies a day

Two of the largest studies examining how eating habits affect chronic disease have found that people who ate eight or more servings a day were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people who consumed one and a half servings or fewer. So eat at least five cups of fruits and vegetables a day. My patients find it easy—and tasty—to drink some of their servings by making a greens-based juice (with fruit) in a blender.

Tea with mintNATALIA BULATOVA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Drink three cups of tea a day

Green, black, and oolong varieties help reduce levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides, regulate levels of blood sugar, and soothe inflammation.

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