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Ways to Support Heart Health

The latest science offers some simple and surprising things you can do to keep your heart going strong.

Watch work stress ~ People in high-stress jobs may be at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. If you’re in a stressful work situation, be sure to make time for activities that can ease the negative impact of your stress: yoga, exercise, meditation, mindful breathing, and massage are all good ways to promote relaxation during or after a tough day.

Brew a cup ~ drinking a couple of eight-ounce cups of coffee a day may protect against heart failure, according to a study at Harvard University. But there’s a sweet spot, since drinking too much coffee [four or more cups a day] appears to increase your risk of heart problems.

Heart healthy carbs ~ Though touted for their benefits, high-protein, low-carb diets may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. If you’re giving a high protein diet a try, be sure to still include some heart-healthy carbs such as sweet potatoes, greens, quinoa, and beans.

Go dark ~ When you need a treat, try dark chocolate. San Diego State University researchers found that people who ate two ounces of 70 percent dark chocolate daily for two weeks had lower blood sugar, lower bad LDL cholesterol, and higher good HDL cholesterol – all markers of improved heart health.

Stretch your legs ~ Walk over and talk to your co-worker instead of sending an email. Researchers in Australia found that getting up every 20 minutes or so for a short walk – as short as 2 minutes – immediately reduced overweight office workers’ blood pressure. The researchers suggest these mini-breaks from desk-sitting may help maintain low blood pressure over time, which protects your heart. ~ adapted from Alice G. Walton, Yoga Journal

At Massage Therapy Center Palo Alto, we provide a restful space for you to relax and relieve stress during your busy week. We encourage you to include bodywork in your weekly self-care routine, to support your heart and overall health, productivity, and sense of well-being!