5 Ways to Invest in Your Heart Health

Remember the piggy bank you had as a kid? You saved for months -- maybe even years -- for that special treat. Your body is no different. Many small, frequent investments in your health can pay big dividends far into the future.

Here are five small choices you can make every day that can provide a big payoff:

1. Eat a wholesome breakfast.
If you think you’re saving calories by skipping breakfast, think again. Breakfast is the key to getting your metabolism revved for the day. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get closer to the 25g of dietary fiber you should aim for daily, including the heart-healthy soluble type fiber found in oats and psyllium. Try topping your bowl of cereal with your favorite fruit for even more fiber -- and flavor -- to start your day.  [1,7,8,9]

2. Explore healthy oils.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can lower your cholesterol, but olive oil is just the beginning. Whether you’re cooking or making salad dressing, various plants offer delicious and distinctly different oils, such as almond, grapeseed, sunflower, hazelnut, flaxseed and hemp. [2] Some oils, like almond and sunflower, can sustain high temperatures for cooking, while others, like flaxseed oil, should be enjoyed at room temperature.[2] But don’t ruin a good thing. Even healthy fats should be enjoyed in moderation. [2]

3. Take more small trips.
As you strive for 30 minutes a day of moderate activity, consider breaking up long sessions of sitting -- every hour, if possible. Instead of sending another email to a colleague, take a walk to his or her desk. Maybe stop in the kitchen for a glass of water along the way. Taking short walks throughout the day not only protects your heart, it can also help relieve tension, depression and anger. [3]

4. Laugh.

Go ahead! Call your funniest friend, click on that cat video or pick up the funny papers. When it comes to dealing with life’s everyday stressors, it doesn’t matter what makes you laugh -- just find a way to do it every day. Besides, if you hear a good joke, you can pass it on and make someone else smile. [4]

5. Eat by color.

Try adding brightly colored vegetables to your meals throughout the week. Most vegetables have some fiber, but they don’t all have the same vitamins and minerals. The antioxidants that make eggplants purple or create the dark green found in kale offer different health benefits, such as improving memory function or supporting a healthy immune system. By enjoying vegetables from across the color spectrum, you can ensure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals nature has to offer. [5,10]


1. Cleveland Clinic: Heart Healthy Breakfast


Accessed 7/2/2013

2. Cleveland Clinic: Heart Healthy Cooking: Oils 101


Accessed 7/2/2013

3. American Heart Association: Physical Activity Improves Quality of Life


Accessed 7/2/2013

4. American Heart Association: Fight Stress with Healthy Habits


Accessed 7/2/2013

5. Johnson EJVishwanathan RJohnson MAHausman DBDavey AScott TMGreen RCMiller LSGearing MWoodard JNelson PTChung HYSchalch W,Wittwer JPoon LW.

Relationship between Serum and Brain Carotenoids, α-Tocopherol, and Retinol Concentrations and Cognitive Performance in the Oldest Old from the Georgia Centenarian Study.

J Aging Res. 2013;2013:951786. doi: 10.1155/2013/951786. Epub 2013 Jun 9.

6. Dietary Fiber:


Acessed 8/6/2013

7.Christine L. Williams, MD, MPH  Patricia Felt-Gunderson, MS, RD, LD

Analysis of Average Daily Fiber Intake Among Ready-to-Eat Cereal Consumers: Role of Whole-Grain Cereals in Closing the Fiber Gap


8.The Future of Grain Foods Recommendations

in Dietary Guidance

Amy R. Mobley, Joanne L. Slavin, and Betsy A. Hornick

J Nutr. 2013 Jul 17

9. Perdue University: Psyllium


Accessed 8/6/2013

10. Brambilla DMancuso CScuderi MRBosco PCantarella GLempereur LDi Benedetto GPezzino SBernardini R

The role of antioxidant supplement in immune system, neoplastic, and neurodegenerative disorders: a point of view for an assessment of the risk/benefit profile.

Nutr J. 2008 Sep 30;7:29. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-7-29.

by the Publishers of Prevention