Dr. Andria Jones, a cardiologist who specializes in women’s cardiovascular disease, offers five easy ways to support your heart health every day.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated from an earlier version posted in February 2021.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide and for most it’s largely preventable with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Dr. Andria Jones knows she needs to take care of herself so that she can show up for her patients and family. Here, she offers approachable daily habits to promote heart health, from fortifying breakfasts to fuel your day, to ways to wind down at night.
Start with Breakfast
“Set yourself up for a productive day by eating a healthy breakfast,” says, Dr. Jones. Her go-to meals include oatmeal for filling fiber and complex carbohydrates or protein-packed egg whites with spinach. “Try to limit foods that are high in sodium like bacon and sausage,” she adds. “You also want to avoid foods high in sugar and simple carbohydrates like bagels or donuts. Those foods are just going to slow you down.”
Move More Throughout the Day
Your day doesn’t have to start with an hour-long high-intensity workout Dr. Jones stresses. “A lot of my patients are working from home right now so I encourage them to get outside and take a quick walk around the block,” she says. “I choose to take the stairs when I can or park further away from the supermarket when I go grocery shopping. All of these moments of movement really do add up and improve your heart health.”
Take a Break
“I know how stressful a hectic workday can be, not to mention during a pandemic, but I also know how important it is to keep your stress levels under control,” Dr. Jones says. “Whether it’s listening to calming music, taking a bath, or mindfully drinking a cup of herbal tea, take a few minutes every day to de-stress.” [Editor’s Note: Click here for ways to cultivate gratitude and a free recorded meditation.]
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Dr. Jones says that while it’s tempting to unwind after a long day with a beer or glass of wine, moderation really is key. She advises patients to limit alcohol intake to five ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of liquor per day.
Get a Good Night’s Rest
“Poor sleep or lack of sleep can lead to long-term negative effects on your heart’s health,” says Dr. Jones. “Try your best to get six to eight hours of sleep per night to keep yourself rejuvenated for the next day and to keep your heart healthy.” [Editor’s Note: Click here for ways to upgrade your sleep hygiene for restorative rest.]