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Your heart is probably the last thing you think may need a gift this Christmas. But after a pandemic, economic stress and the possibility of gaining the COVID 15, it’s time to give your heart a little love.

Dr. Smriti Banthia, a cardiologist with Franciscan Health, says now is a good time to help out your heart. She also recommends you “know your numbers.”

This includes knowing your cholesterol levels, blood pressure readings and learning what your fasting glucose level is-to prevent the onset of diabetes. She also recommends spending $49 For a CAT scan, which will check for coronary calcium.

It all starts with your diet.

“Fiber is very important to your diet and when our bellies are full, we don’t need to be eating more,” says Dr. Banthia. “But most of us are eating 500 more calories than we should be.”

Dr. Banthia says your heart will be happy for Christmas and beyond if you also reduce sugar, fat, and salt in your diet. She recommends eating fresh whole foods, and one of the best things you can do for your heart is to eat berries. If you’re eating the right way, you should be adding foods.

“Start by adding foods. So add the 5 cups of fruits and vegetables through your whole day and you yourself will say, ‘maybe I won’t eat the extra cookie. I’m already full.’  By adding adequate water intake and adding fresh greens and veggies, fruits into your diet,  as you do that you’ll eliminate some other foods,” says Dr. Banthia.

She also suggests checking out a couple of documentaries over the Christmas season: Forks over Knives and Gamechangers, she said are good.  

Also, get in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and move it to 60 minutes when you are ready.