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February 21, 2024 · By Dr. Richa Mittal

Strategies to maximize heart health for your population

clinical_research_filter Our Experts Science-Backing WondrTips

Dr. Richa Mittal shares four whole-body strategies to improve heart health during American Heart Health month

February is home to Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month—no time is better than now to provide your population with tools to improve their heart health. 

As a physician who is board-certified in both obesity and internal medicine, I partner with Wondr Health to enhance accessibility to resources and support and aim to empower my patients to mitigate risks and improve overall health and well-being. The Wondr program is one of the tools I recommend to patients to learn the skills to lower their health risks, such as heart disease, and build sustainable habits for a healthy life. 

Heart health is so important: the heart quite literally keeps you alive by pumping the blood that provides the oxygen and nutrients you need to function. And yet, cardiovascular disease claims more lives in the U.S. each year than all forms of cancer combined. Fortunately, as I like to tell my patients, we have a lot of power over heart disease risk factors. What are those risk factors? Chronic conditions like high blood pressure, obesity and overweight, and diabetes increase the risk of heart disease. Everyday lifestyle choices like smoking, eating habits, physical activity, stress, and sleep also impact risk. 

As a physician who also specializes in lifestyle medicine, I consider all these elements—and the whole body––when making recommendations. So, companies that are looking to support the heart health of their population might consider promoting these four whole-body strategies that can help their employees feel better and reduce their risk of heart disease. 

  1. Eat healthy with whole, natural foods 
    Encourage your employees to enjoy real foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and protein sources like lean poultry and fish. They’re packed with nutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals without the added calories, sugar, and salt found in highly processed, packaged foods. Highly processed foods contribute to weight gain and negatively affect blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Eating foods closer to their natural state reduces inflammatory load on the body, helping to keep our hearts healthy and strong. 
  1. Regularly engage in enjoyable activities to move more 
    All kinds of physical activity help reduce cardiovascular disease risk, diabetes risk, and even cancer. Whether it’s walking, swimming, biking, resistance training, dancing, or anything else––encourage your population to do what they enjoy, and they will more likely keep doing it. Remember, moving a little bit is better than not moving at all!  
  1. Manage stress and rest 
    Encourage your population to use well-being programs such as Wondr to practice deep breathing, a body scan, and mindfulness practices to reduce stress. Aiming to get 7-8 hours of restorative sleep and setting a bedtime alarm can help make that happen. Refraining from smoking and limiting alcohol consumption makes a big difference, too.  
  1. Know your numbers 
    Meeting with a health-care provider on a routine basis to check your “numbers” (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and waist circumference) is an essential part of a good heart disease prevention plan. And as your population continues to make small changes around food, physical activity, sleep, and stress management, they’ll see the positive impact they can have on their metrics. 

Why do we recommend tracking waist circumference? 
Because it’s not just extra weight but where you carry it that can be harmful. Visceral fat––the kind stored around the midsection and abdominal organs––increases inflammation in the body. Inflammation in turn increases risk for insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes––a heart disease risk factor. Helping your population lose as little as 5-10% of body weight can greatly reduce cardiovascular risk. Daily habits are not just the foundation for a healthy weight but for a healthy heart. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Wondr Health solutions and improving the health of your population and bottom line, contact us today

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