5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Tips to keep your ticker in tip-top shape.

Feb. 28, 2014— -- intro: Shield your heart like a pro with these tips from heart doctors about what they do to keep their own hearts functioning and healthy.

quicklist: 1category: How to Keep Your Heart Healthytitle: Laugh It Offurl:text: "I make sure to laugh every day—it reduces blood pressure. I DVR sitcoms like Modern Family, and if I see a movie, I'll always choose a comedy. Music is another heart aid because it lowers stress hormones like cortisol. Katy Perry or Pitbull tunes always make me smile."

--Jennifer H. Mieres, M.D., is a clinical nuclear cardiologist at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, New York.

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quicklist: 2category: How to Keep Your Heart Healthytitle: Chill Outurl:text: Women's hearts handle stress differently than men's do, so we need to be proactive about relaxing. Like most people, I have limited downtime, so when I'm with friends or family, I turn off my cell. Being "out of touch" allows me to really unwind and find a true sense of peace.

--Maja Zaric, M.D., is a WH advisor and interventional cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

quicklist: 3category: How to Keep Your Heart Healthytitle: Eat Your Greens, and Some Chocolateurl:text: I have a family history of heart disease, so eating well is key. Diet is central to preventing problems. I try to eat a salad almost every day—avocado, tomatoes, chicken, olive oil, and vinegar on a bed of lettuce. I have a piece of fruit with every meal. A square of 70 percent dark chocolate is my treat.

--Patricia Vassallo, M.D., is a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

quicklist: 4category: How to Keep Your Heart Healthytitle: Get Your Shut-Eyeurl:text: I used to take pride in barely sleeping. But we know now that lack of sleep ups the risk for heart disease. With kids and a busy career, it's hard for me to get my seven hours. So I cut out TV and Web surfing on weeknights; I can catch up on them on weekends.

--Madalina Petrescu, M.D., is a cardiologist at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.

quicklist: 4category: How to Keep Your Heart Healthytitle: Get Your Shut-Eyeurl:text: I trained my high-energy dog to love running. He doesn't take a day off, so neither can I. If you don't like running, you can swim, bike, anything! Exercise is medicine, and you need your daily dose--moving strengthens your heart.

--Martha Gulati, M.D., is a cardiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

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