Experts share healthy heart tips they follow


by Bill Ligas | February 3, 2017

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Since February is Heart Month, we asked some of our board-certified physicians, certified trainers and dietitians what heart healthy advice they practice. Here’s what they shared.






Take time out of the week for yourself. 

“Even a quick 15-minute jog is better than not running at all. I always make time each week to get in a minimum of three days of physical activity, but I always try for five. Also be mindful of eating empty calories. Avoid eating foods high in calories but low in nutritional value such as granola bars, sweets, sodas, juices, alcohol and chips. These foods add calories without providing nutritional support.”

Angel Rivera, D.O.
Internal Medicine Physician
Swedish Covenant Medical Group

Eat a balanced, diverse diet. 

“I eat a combination of lean meats like fish and chicken, low-fat dairy, complex carbs, fruits, vegetables, and a very small serving of nuts and seeds daily. I also keep my food portions under control.  My healthy diet keeps me energetic and guilt free.”

Muna Siddiqi, MS, RD, CDE
Certified Diabetes Educator
Swedish Covenant Hospital

Stay active.

“My advice would be to stay active. Try for 10,000 steps each day but a minimum of 5,000—anything less than that is considered a sedentary lifestyle and is associated with poor cardiovascular health. Avoid fad dieting and adopt healthy eating habits such as the Mediterranean diet. Equally as important is to report any symptoms of chest discomfort or shortness of breath to your primary care provider.”

Steve Attanasio D.O. FACC FSCAI
Clinical and Interventional Cardiology
Swedish Covenant Medical Group

Get in the recommended amount of omega-3 fats. 

“A heart healthy practice I follow is eating fish at least twice a week for the omega-3 fats. These fats help in lowering risk of heart disease.”

Stephanie Hathaway MS, RD, LDN
Clinical Dietitian
Swedish Covenant Hospital


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De-stress through breathing. 

“There is a close association between stress and cardiovascular disease. High levels of chronic stress triggers individuals to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as cigarette smoking, increased alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, inadequate eating habits and social isolation. There are many techniques for reducing stress—breathing is simple and convenient. When experiencing stress, pause and take 3 deep breaths. Inhale through your nose, slowly fill up your belly (not your chest) and then exhale completely through your nose again.”

Maki B. Uechi-Brooker M.Ed, ACSM
Certified Exercise Physiologist, CHWC
Personal Trainer & Wellness Coach
Galter LifeCenter

Know your numbers and vary your workouts.

“To keep my heart disease risk factors as low as possible, I make sure that I know my numbers, including my blood pressure and cholesterol. And, I exercise nearly every day, combining cardio and weight bearing exercises. I rarely repeat the same exercise two days in a row and I mix it up between moderate and high intensity bursts. Exercise makes me feel better. I have more energy, less stress, I’m more relaxed and I sleep better!”

Sue Talbert
Personal Trainer
Galter LifeCenter


For information on cardiovascular services at Swedish Covenant Hospital, visit SwedishCovenant.org/heart.
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