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Top 3 'heart-smart' resolutions for New Year

December 31, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
If you're tired of making healthy New Year's resolutions that you never keep, take heart: This year can be different. Here are the top three "heart smart" resolutions, and how to stick to them.Out with the old, in with a new year and a new you.

"My New Year's resolution is to exercise and watch my diet," said Glendale resident Ani Saroyan.

Ani, 25, has good intentions, but resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle are usually forgotten long before Martin Luther King Day rolls around.

"Sticking with it is simply an issue of doing it about 20 days in a row," said Glendale Memorial Hospital's Dr. Lawrence O'Connor, a cardiologist.

O'Connor says in 2011, heart disease will remain the number one killer of Americans.

Resolving to quit smoking, eat better and exercise more may sound mundane, but these simple changes do save lives. Studies show walking 30 minutes a day five days a week dramatically lowers the risk of getting a heart attack.

"There's pretty good evidence that eating a so-called Mediterranean-style diet also lowers the incidence of coronary events," said O'Connor.

If you think a Mediterranean diet is too complex to remember, O'Connor says simply remember the "five Fs."

"Fish; fowl; filet or top sirloin, which actually have a surprisingly low level cholesterol; fruits; fresh vegetables; to round that off, a splash of red wine," said O'Connor.

Again, the trick is to stick with it for about three weeks.

"If you can get through the first 20 days of the new year doing this, you'd be surprised how easily it is to become habituated to this new lifestyle," said O'Connor.

A simple tip that can make 2011 your healthiest year ever.