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Heart Smart Living
Heart Smart Living

Cardiologist, author, and heart health expert Dr. Sarah Samaan offers advice on how to live a heart smart life.

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Best Practices for a Healthy Heart Step 5: Use Your Common Sense

Best PracticesMy book, Best Practices for a Healthy Heart: How to Stop Heart Disease Before or After it Starts, will be released in June by The Experiment publishing house. In the book, I outline seven important steps that will help you to achieve optimum heart health and provide you with powerful protection against stroke, dementia, and even cancer.

We’ve gone through Step One (Know Your Numbers), Step Two (Eat Well to Live Better), Step Three (Learn How to Take a Break without Checking Out), and Step Four (Get a Move On). In Step 5 (Use Your Common Sense), I’ll show you how the common wisdom we learned as children has a profound impact on the health of our body, mind, and spirit.

Whether you got your advice from Mom, Dad, Mrs. Brady, or the neighbor down the street, there is powerful medicine in the lessons of common sense. For instance, how many times were you told to brush your teeth? Not only does a gleaming smile look good and smell sweet, but there is also good evidence that ties heart health to dental health.

Playing nicely with others is another life lesson that will take you far. Friends help us to weather the inevitable storms of life, including those that affect our health. A person with a strong social network is less likely to suffer a heart attack, and more apt to survive one.

Many of us grew up hearing the slogan “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute”. Although the health of our planet should concern all of us, pollution can also have a powerful impact on our heart health. In an earlier post, I wrote about the harmful effects of mercury. It is also true that high levels of air pollution are associated with a greater risk for heart attacks and strokes.

This section also addresses the impact of a healthy spiritual life, the benefits of having a pet by your side, and the influence of sleep on heart health. Other topics include hydration, breakfast, and even the flu vaccine.

In a separate chapter, I tackle attitude and stress. Because these are such important issues, I’ll save them for a later post.

Sometimes it’s just far too easy to take the path of least resistance. Learning how to use your common sense will take commitment and mindfulness, but the benefits are surprisingly powerful and long-lasting. For a whole-body, whole-life approach to your health, this is a great place to start.

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About the Author


Dr. Samaan is an acclaimed cardiologist, writer, and heart health educator.