[exceed] the daily limit. I tell patients to look at a label. If you see hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated [oils], there’s trans fats in there, so stay away from it.”
You Don’t Bother To Floss
Believe it or not, there’s a link between gum disease and heart disease. When left untreated, “gum disease leads to an inflammatory state in the entire body, thus increasing your chance of heart disease exponentially,” says cardiologist Dr. Evelina Grayver, the director of the Coronary Care Unit at Northwell Health’s North Shore University Hospital. Constant inflammation can lead to endothelial dysfunction—a state in which blood vessels are expanding and contracting abnormally—which is the first phase of premature coronary artery disease. Grayver says gum disease “can also increase risk of endocarditis—infections within your cardiac valves.” The answer? Research shows that adding flossing to your oral care routine can help reduce gum disease.
You’re Drinking the Wrong Smoothies
This may be tough to swallow. Fruit juice smoothies, which are low in fiber and high in carbs, spike blood sugar. “When you eat a pear, your blood sugar doesn’t really go up because even though it’s sweet going down, it takes your body a few hours to disentangle and digest all the sugar from all the fiber in the pear,” says Northwestern Medicine cardiac surgeon Dr. Timothy James. “But when you put the pear in the blender and you drink it, all that sugar is available in the solution. It hits your stomach, which has this large surface area and luxuriant blood supply and the sugar just leaps into your bloodstream.” That spike in sugar leads to a rise in insulin, which can lead to inflammation in the body. That’s harmful, because “the progression of plaques in your arteries seems to be partly dependent on the presence of inflammation and is accelerated by inflammation.” Instead, mix your smoothies with plant-based protein, like the fat-melting drinks in Zero Belly Smoothies.
You Have More Than One to Two Drinks Per Day
Take it easy on the booze. The American Heart Association recommends consuming (ideally, with meals) no more than one drink per day for women and two per day for men. Any more than that puts your heart at risk. “Excessive alcohol has a negative inotropic effect, which is a fancy term for meaning that it screws up the pumping capacity of the heart transiently,” says Dr. Franklin.
You Don’t Get Enough Downtime
Slowing down after work is essential to keeping your life in balance. “When you’re overwhelmed, you really can’t do those healthy things that everybody wants you to do,” says Dr. Nieca Goldberg, Medical Director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center. “But also you tend to have higher blood pressure and higher levels of stress hormones that increase blood sugar and belly fat.” Create boundaries between your work and leisure time. “You need to leave work and go on to some other activity, whether it’s spending time with your family or exercising or eating a meal where you’re not eating as quickly as you can,” Goldberg says.