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Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart

Kristen Howe have been eating healthy foods for a couple years, ever since she had open heart surgery to fix a hole in her heart.

Photo of a Human Heart


A Life-Changing Decision

Did you know that heart disease is the number one cause of death of women? If you and your family have a history of heart disease, it's never too late to kick heart disease with a head start. Every February is the National Heart Disease month, when famous celebrities parade in red for fashion shows. If it's a real concern in your family, you can change your lifestyle by eating healthy foods and living a healthier lifestyle with exercise to prevent it. You don't have to change your eating habits and diet.

Let me tell you something about myself. A decade ago, during a routine physical from my family doctor, she told me about the hole in my heart. She had concerns about it and referred me to a cardiologist. I knew all my life, I was born with an irregular heart, and didn't know about the hole in my heart that grew bigger as I aged. After a consultation with my cardiologist on the hole size, I met with two heart surgeons about the process. So I knew I needed to have it done anytime in 2011, since it was a life-altering decision. When I was thirty-six-years-old, I had open heart surgery to fix that hole in my heart.... in which saved my life, years down the road, from having a stroke or a heart attack. Three hours in surgery, one week hospitalization, and two months of recovery time with follow-ups with my cardiologist, my heart healed and mended real well, and I never felt better. Since then, I changed my diet a little bit.

During my recovery time, I walked around the parking lots of my former apartment, when the weather was cooperative. During rainy days and winter, I walked down the hallway inside of my apartment. I started out slow and progressed to do more laps, every afternoon. Even after my surgery, I walked outside or inside. (Since I moved almost eight years ago, it's going to be tricky. But I walked to my local gym, a 10- minute commute, after I stated my membership, if the weather's cooperative as well.)

So whether you had any kind of heart surgery or not, these helpful and healthy tips can change your life, and save your heart in the long run.

Healthy heart quiz

Take Baby Aspirin Regimes for Your Heart Health


Cucumber Salad With Garlic Dressing


Great Deals for Salads

  • Fresh Express
    You can find a variety of Fresh Express salad mixes at your local grocery store. Unfortunately, you can't find them online. Now, there's new salad mixes available in your grocery store: Digestive Health, Heart Health, and Antioxidant Health.

Salad poll

Prevent Heart Disease with Aspirin and Eating Salads

If you use aspirin or ibuprofen for any kind of pain, you can add baby aspirin to your regime to kick that curb to the curb. You can use any brand with the heart on the box at any pharmacy or grocery store. If not on sale, you can use coupons or save money with the generic brands, which would work well, too. And you don't have to worry about overdoing it, since it's a low dosage. I average, one to three a day.

When my mother was sick in 2013, she was on a daily baby aspirin regime, since she had Congestive Heart Failure among other things. She also changed her eating habits, before she died in March 2014, after she fought a year-long battle. Baby aspirin helped her live a little longer with her other medicines. She also went on a no-salt/low salt diet for a year too.

Everyone loves a salad. There's a variety of them you can make and spice things up. There's nothing wrong with going green and doubling on your fruits and veggies. You can make them at home with the essentials of lettuce, tomatoes, your favorite vegetables, salad dressings, and toppings. Or you can buy the packaged fresh salad mixes that's available at your local grocery market. A real good deal, if it's on sale for a buy one get one free, or you can get two for a real low price. All you have to do is add the toppings, other veggies, and you're good to go! Of course, you can't go wrong at the salad bar at your local restaurants or grocery stores, if they have it. I love to splurge on a grocery salad bar, every now and then, by adding some egg, some meats, and other ingredients for a perfect lunch. You can have a small side salad with your dinner, or have it alone for lunch and supper.

What's your favorite salads and toppings?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Kristen Howe


Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 18, 2017:

Bill, thanks for stopping by and commenting. So glad you and your heart is healthy.

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Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2017:

Great information, Kristen! I had to stop and think about my heart. Last time I had a checkup it was healthy. I just checked my's still beating....all systems are go for today. :)

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on December 01, 2016:

Thanks Mike! So glad your wife has a healthy heart, my friend. I'm glad to be helpful and informative from my past experience to you and other hubbers.

Readmikenow on December 01, 2016:

Excellent article. I enjoyed reading it. You provided some very good information. My wife just recently had a check-up and all is good with her heart. A holiday wish come true.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on February 28, 2016:

Bill, thanks for stopping by and sharing your comments about your PFO. I'm glad you're doing fine to stay healthy for your heart. Good for you, my friend! Thanks for your kind words.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on February 28, 2016:

Hi Kristen. About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with a PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale), which is essentially a small hole between the upper atrial chambers. I didn't have any symptoms but my doctor heard a murmur and off to the cardiologist I went. Many tests later I was told to take a baby aspirin daily and continue doing what I do everyday. They felt trying to fix it might do more harm than good. Ten years later I seem fine; I run, walk, do pretty much everything I usually do. I know there is an increased risk of a stroke with this but I try to stay healthy and eat right. Salad and baby aspirin are now a part of my daily routine. Wonderful hub and one that is of particular interest to me.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on October 18, 2015:

Thanks Glenn. It's been almost 1.5 years since she's been gone. In a month, it would've been her 72nd birthday. Yeah she did--one more year. Thx for your kind words.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on October 18, 2015:

It's good that you are taking care of yourself by eating healthy, especially since you have the history of the heart problem.

I don't have heart disease, but I am getting older and concerned about maintaining my health and mental abilities. So I decided, a while back, to stay away from read meat and I look at labels. I never eat anything that has any amount of saturated fat listed on the label. That made a big difference on my last annual physical results, resulting in a lower cholesterol.

Sorry to hear about the lose of you mom. At least she had some extra time due to taking the baby aspirin.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 06, 2015:

I meant Venka.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 06, 2015:

Thanks so much Benkatachari for your kind words and comments.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on July 06, 2015:

Very useful article about simple steps to be taken to prevent heart diseases. Your own experiences shared are great guidance for people with the symptoms. Wish you all my blessings.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 30, 2015:

Thanks Rebecca. I will.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on May 30, 2015:

Sounds like you are on the right track. Keep on taking care of yourself!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 06, 2015:

Thanks Linda for commenting with your kind words. It's been 2.5 years since my surgery--three this fall. Good for you for stay healthy, too!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 06, 2015:

Thanks Linda for stopping by and commenting with kind words. It's been 2.5 years since my heart surgery--three years, this fall. Good for you!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 06, 2015:

Linda, thanks for stopping by and kind words. It's been 2.5 years since I had my heart surgery--it'll be 3 this fall. I'm glad you love my tips, too.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on May 05, 2015:

Glad to hear you are doing well and your heart is healthy. Excellent tips! I exercise every day and eat healthy...the heart is vital for survival. Treat it right and it will do right by you! :)

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 05, 2015:

Thanks Poetryman. I agree with water. Thanks for liking my recommendations, too.

poetryman6969 on May 05, 2015:

Voted up. These recommendations work for me. All you add is water.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 24, 2015:

Rachel, you've very welcome. I hope the hole in your granddaughter's heart will grow smaller and doesn't need surgery, like I did, 3.5 years ago. I'm sorry to hear of your loss of your brother. My mother died from a heart attack a year ago from years of smoking, and a year of CHF in home health care.

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on April 24, 2015:

This is a subject of interest to me. There is heart disease in my family. My brother died of a massive heart attack a year and a half ago, only 3 years older then me. He and I both have leaky heart valves. My youngest granddaughter who is 7 was born with a hole in heart which is being watched monthly. So far, it's not causing any problems. Thank you for bring awareness of this problem to your readers.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 10, 2015:

God Bless your granddaughter Mary. My hole was about 42 inches. I agree with eating healthy foods and exercises is the way to go. Thanks for the visit.

Mary Craig from New York on April 09, 2015:

My granddaughter was born with a hole in her heart and a clogged valve. She had open heart surgery when she was three days old. She's two now and beautiful! (Yes, I wrote a hub about it.)

I'm glad they found and corrected yours, and very glad you're now doing well. We never really know what's going on inside so eating healthy and exercising is our best bet for being healthy.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 09, 2015:

Thanks so much Sharp Points for stopping by and commenting.

Sharp Points from Big Bear Lake, California on April 09, 2015:

Great read, very informative useful information! Good work!

Lynne Modranski from Ohio on March 08, 2015:

I have one of those holes! Fortunately, mine's never gotten bigger so they just left it there, although it did contribute to a TIA I had in 2007. I've been told to avoid the green stuff (especially raw spinach, my favorite) because the greener it is the more it thickens the blood (I've never researched that thought - that's just what I've been told). Thanks for sharing your story and your health tips!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on February 04, 2015:

Cucumber salad is healthy. Thanks so much Peach.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 03, 2015:

how could i forgot about cucumber for salad? great tips for eating healthy

Sandy on October 05, 2014:

Thank you for sharing your story and your advice on the importance of heart health! Great post, looking forward to more!

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