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10 Rules For A Healthy Heart

Health     First Posted: 02/18/11 08:39 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:35 PM ET

Heart disease causes over 600,000 deaths every year in the U.S., with another 27 million Americans living with it every day. Fortunately, some simple dietary and lifestyle changes can go a long way in reducing your risk.

"Set small goals for yourself over time to avoid the discouragement that comes when you can't make changes that are too large or too fast," advises Nancy Trygar Artinian, Ph.D., RN-BC, director of the Center for Health Research at Wayne State University's College of Nursing in Detroit. "And then keep an eye on yourself."


Choose Whole Grains Over Refined Grains
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Anything in whole-grain "kernel" form, including whole-wheat flour, brown rice, and oatmeal, is a heart-healthier choice than refined products such as white bread or white rice, notes Artinian. "If you don't have the whole grain, you're just left with the starch inside that kernel, and not the fiber and other nutrients that lower your cholesterol," she says.

The fiber in whole grains will also keep you feeling more full, helping reduce the number of calories you eat -- also a good thing for the heart.

More from Health.com:
12 Ways to Fight Stress and Help Your Heart
15 Recipes Low in Saturated Fat
The 7 Best Fat-Blasters

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Filed by Nicholas Miriello  |