Prevention & Recovery

Discover 5 proven ways to boost your heart health

By: Dr. Joey Shulman DC, registered nutritionist

Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

Discover 5 proven ways to boost your heart health

By: Dr. Joey Shulman DC, registered nutritionist
In Canada, heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women, and statistics are suggesting that more young Canadians are developing heart disease. According to a recent report released by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the number of Canadians in their 20s and 30s with high blood pressure has almost doubled in the past 15 years. Of those 20 to 34 years old, three million are inactive, 2.5 million are overweight or obese, two million smoke and 164,000 have high blood pressure.

Here are some more Canadian statistics to consider:

• One in five adults aged 50 to 64 has two or more major risk factors – high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity – much of it due to overeating, poor eating habits, smoking and physical inactivity.

• Men typically develop heart disease 10 to 15 years prior to women. One fourth of all heart disease deaths in men occur between the ages of 35 and 65.

• In women, the condition is responsible for about 29 per cent of deaths.

Luckily, there are significant steps that you can take to care for your heart and dramatically reduce your risk factors for the development of heart disease. Follow these five expert tips and you'll be well on your way to a happy and healthy heart.

Don't be an apple!
Are you an apple or are you a pear? Apple shaped bodies tend to store more fat around the abdominal region, whereas pear shapes tend to store more fat around the hips. Unfortunately, abdominal fat versus fat that accumulates around the hip region is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and heart attack. For men, their waist circumference measurement should be less than 40 inches, and for women less than 35 inches. Are you at risk? Find a tape measure that is flexible, stand naturally and breathe out slowly. Place the measuring tape 1 centimetre below your belly button for an accurate measure.

Page 1 of 2 - More great heart-health tips on page 2.

Eat a prudent diet
A large-scale study of men's healthcare found that those who ate a prudent diet (high in colorful fruits and vegetables, low glycemic options such as whole grains and legumes, fish and poultry) had a 30 per cent less chance of heart attacks compared to those who ate few prudent foods. Men who consumed the highest amount of their daily caloric intake from the typical North American diet (high in red meat, cheese, salt, refined grains, sweets and desserts) had a 64 per cent increased risk of heart disease.

Load up on your omega-3 fats
Recent research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has demonstrated that men who consume fish frequently have less risk of cardiovascular incident versus those who do not. The benefit of the fish is derived from the large amount of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fat found in the fish. Omega-3 fats also help reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure. In addition to adding fish to the diet, supplementing with a distilled fish oil daily is also recommended. Adding other sources of omega-3 food to the diet such as walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and fortified omega-3 grocery items such as eggs, bread and juice is also a wise choice.

Move as much as you can!
Exercise has enormous benefits on the state of overall health and wellness. In terms of exercise and heart disease, engaging in routine physical activity can help dramatically lower risk factors such as excess body weight and can also help reduce overall stress and anxiety.

Supplement with coenzyme Q10
CoQ10 is a powerful coenzyme that is involved in virtually every cellular process in the body. The mitochondria (the powerhouses where all energy is produced) contain the most CoQ10 and more CoQ10 is found in the heart tissue than in any other muscle of the body. It appears that individuals who have heart disease tend to have lower levels of this important coenzyme. While CoQ10 can take several months to show beneficial effects, research does indicate that it is beneficial for individuals with heart disease. If you are prescribed a statin medication (a cholesterol lowering drug), your doctor may also recommended supplementing with CoQ10 to prevent a deficiency.

In addition to these tips above, here are some more ways to stay heart healthy:
Don't smoke!
• Eat until you are sufficiently sufficed ... not stuffed
• Reduce the amount of saturated fat found in your diet, such as red meat
• Eliminate all trans fatty acids from your diet
• Opt for whole grain breads, pastas and brown rice
Drink alcohol in moderation
• Load up on high anti-oxidant teas such as white or green tea

Page 2 of 2

Learn more about women's health here.

Dr. Joey Shulman is author of Healthy Sin Foods (Penguin 2009) and founder of the Shulman Weight Loss Clinics. For more information, please visit

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Prevention & Recovery

Discover 5 proven ways to boost your heart health