5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy

PHOTO: In this stock image, a couple is pictured eating healthier food options.
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Shield your heart like a pro with these tips from heart doctors about what they do to keep their own hearts functioning and healthy.

How to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Laugh It Off

"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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How to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Chill Out

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.

How to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Eat Your Greens, and Some Chocolate

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.

How to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Get Your Shut-Eye

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.

How to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Get Your Shut-Eye

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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