That fist-size wonder that keeps your body working 24/7, speeds up when you see someone you love, and beats hard when you watch a scary movie or do jumping jacks? It deserves basic maintenance. Too often we don't provide that, which explains why heart disease is the number one killer of women. But here's the hopeful side: "Your lifestyle makes up about half of your heart disease risk," says Nieca Goldberg, MD, medical director for NYU Langone Medical Center's Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health.
Adds Dr. Oz, "You have a huge opportunity to affect how your heart performs for you — you can make it stronger and younger by the way you eat, exercise, and respond to life." Don't worry about where to start. Just pick and choose from these pointers. Eventually, you'll be doing them all and feeling better than ever.
Go Ahead, Eat (the Right) Fat
Yes, fat really is on a good-for-your-heart menu. People who don't get enough tend to go overboard on carbs and sugary foods, and your heart doesn't like that at all. Experts say that the rich, flavor-revving stuff can make up between 25 and 35 percent of your day's calories. Just skew toward healthier fats.
How Much Fat In a Day
This is how much you can eat of the various types of fat:
- Unsaturated Fat: 27%
- Saturated Fat: 7%
- Trans Fat: 1%
- All Other Good Groups: 65%
Up to 35 percent of your daily calories can be fat, but at least 27 percent should be heart-healthy unsaturated. (Even more would be better!) You should only have 7 percent saturated fat (max). And yes, the type found in butter and steak is OK in moderation; keep it to this percentage of your day's calories. Only have up to 1 percent trans fat. Ideally, get it to zero.