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Heart Health Can Be Simple

heart-health-5A new study shows that good heart health is really quite simple.

Just five things can make the difference between a long and healthy life and one compromised and cut short by heart disease (our number one killer – sorry, Ebola!)

Here they are, in order of importance:

  1. Eat a healthy diet (the more whole plants, the better)
  2. Don't smoke
  3. Exercise
  4. Use alcohol in moderation, if at all
  5. Maintain a slim waistline

That's it – those five elements (or four, if you consider #5 to be an outcome rather than a behavior) make up the vast majority of the difference between heart-healthy and heart-sick people.

In fact, the study (of almost 21,000 men ages 45-79) suggests that 4 out of 5 heart attacks could be prevented by adopting these five behaviors.

And that's pretty conservative, because the recommended diet was not that great (“top quintile (5th) of Recommended Food Score”, whatever that means). Oh, and guess how many of the 21,000 men were 5 for 5?

Less than 1%. Around 200.

The takeaway here – health doesn't have to be complicated.

Sure, there's almost more to add – getting enough rest and recovery, practicing optimism and gratitude, connecting with nature – but in my experience it's hard to go to those next levels when I'm fueling my body with toxins and junk, and sitting on the couch rather than moving.

Start where you are. Start simple. Start with food. (Hey, maybe that will become one of those Facebook memes people create over inspirational photos of mountain ranges.)

(Thanks to Pam Popper of The Wellness Forum for her Youtube video bringing this study to my attention.)

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Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

Gratitudes

Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – Katharine Floyd – Meryl Fury – for your generous support of the podcast.

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