Health News

The Best Daily Habit for Heart Health, Per Cardiologists

If your doctor has told you that you need to take proactive steps to lower your blood pressure or improve your cardiovascular health, knowing where to start can feel overwhelming. It isn’t easy to break habits that have been in place for years that are so automatic that you often do them without even thinking about it.

The encouraging news is that 90 percent of heart disease is preventable through diet and lifestyle habits. Cardiologists Dr. Kaustubh Dabhadkar, MD, MPH, MBA, FACC, who specializes in preventive cardiology, says the key to making changes that will be long-lasting is making them gradually and deliberately. This, he says, will be more effective than trying to change the entire way you eat and live all at once.

According to cardiologists Dr. Darius Mozaffarian, MD, who is also a professor of nutrition at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and professor of medicine at Tufts School of Medicine, there is one change in particular that can make a huge difference when it comes to heart health and it’s the one he recommends people focus on first: cook more.

Related: Your Live-Well Guide to Maintaining Heart Health and Preventing Heart Disease

How Cooking Your Own Food Can Improve Heart Health

The reason whyDr. Mozaffarian says cooking can be so impactful on heart health is that it minimizes the amount of highly processed foods someone would otherwise be eating. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 percent of the sodium that Americans consume comes from highly processed foods or foods that are eaten out. This is key because a diet high in sodium is directly linked to high blood pressure and poor cardiovascular health.