Open-heart surgery
Open-heart surgery (Dr. Chauncey Crandall)

Here are 5 Tips to help you avoid the operating table:

In some cases, there is little or no way for a person to avoid heart surgery or bypass surgery.  However, for most people, diet and lifestyle changes can ensure that you will never need these devices. Here are my five favorite tips for avoiding the operating table:

1. Bid farewell to eating red meat. Researchers who tracked the eating habits of 110,000 adults for 20 years found that just one 3-ounce serving of meat (about the size of a deck of cards) was associated with a 13 percent greater risk of death. People who ate processed meat such as hot dogs or bacon fared even worse.

2. For a healthy snack, try popcorn. Researchers have found that the hulls of popcorn are rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that prevent cell damage. They are also 100 percent whole grain. Popcorn is also richin fiber, which makes it filling. Just be sure to enjoy the unbuttered, unsalted variety.

3. Indulge in chocolate. A new study shows that people who eat chocolate have a lower body mass index than those who don’t. While the researchers were at a loss to explain the difference, they noted that chocolate is rich in antioxidants, and also may help boost metabolism. For best results choose a type that is at least 80 percent dark chocolate, and just enjoy a square or two a day.

4. Get enough sleep. Study after study shows that a lack of sleep is linked with heart disease. Sleep is also imperative if you are trying to lose weight. A new study conducted at the Mayo Clinic showed that healthy people overate an average of 550 calories when they were sleep deprived.

5. Pray daily. Regular readers know I am a devout believer in the power of prayer. But I am not the only one who finds prayer powerful. Recently, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine looked at 100 studies over the past century, and found that 79 of them showed that those who had a spiritual practice experienced significantly greater wellbeing, life satisfaction, and happiness. The bottom line: Pursue God now; it will change your health and your life.

Just adding these five steps to your daily routine can greatly affect your cardiovascular health in a positive way. So help “bypass” heart surgery by starting on a heart healthy diet and lifestyle today.

Chauncey W. Crandall, M.D., F.A.C.C., chief of the cardiac transplant program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., practices interventional, vascular and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his postgraduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the cardiovascular surgery division. Known as the “Christian physician,” Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients.

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