Two young men in our church had heart attacks this year. Both were caught completely by surprise. I saw one of them at my health club last Tuesday and discovered that he had a major heart attack at the club, after I left. Brian just got out of the hospital yesterday, after staying there 1 week. Another good friend from church needed stents last year and has completely changed his diet. All three friends now have stents in their arteries.
I asked them to share any insights they had for how to avoid a heart attack and what life changes they would be making. I know that some heart attacks can be genetic but I believe most can be avoided. Why not make changes now and not have a heart attack in the first place. These are the things that they wanted me to share with you:
- If you smoke – QUIT. Even casual smoking can damage your heart.
- Eat your vegetables. All three men talked about not having great diets before having heart problems. One said he NEVER ate vegetables. Now he has a salad with a little meat instead of a dinner of fried chicken and a baked potato and no vegetables.
- Get a heart stress test. If there is any blockage it can be discovered before it’s too late.
- Cut out white flour.
- Cut out sugar. All three loved their desserts. One of them told me he now eats desserts only on his birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas. He wasn’t ‘heavy’ before but just by cutting out white flour, sugar, and eating leaner meats like fish and chicken, he has lost weight without even trying.
- If you are carrying extra weight, lose it. One of them told me his extra weight put a big strain on his heart.
- No Sodas. One told me he avoids sodas now like the plague. Diet sodas also make you put on weight. A Doctor told one of my friends if he would just cut out diet sodas and drink water instead with no other changes he would lose weight. It worked.
If you do have a heart attack or see someone with a heart attack, give them an aspirin and call 911. Aspirins thin your blood and can help for the short term. Chew the aspirin or put it under your tongue. A good diet with exercise can help you avoid getting a heart attack in the first place.