9 Things Cardiologists Do for Their Own Hearts

RUSH specialists share their heart-healthy habits

Cardiologists aren’t just helping their patients lead healthier lives — they’re following their own advice every day. RUSH cardiologists share their most beneficial heart-healthy habits.

I run almost daily.

“Running is my passion. I started running in medical school, and when I had my children, I incorporated them in my running routines — whether that was running with a jogging stroller or exercising with them. I always make time to run and exercise because our hearts are a very important part of our bodies. And the more we take care of our bodies, the more efficient we will be.”

Melissa Tracy, MD

I don’t smoke.

Although I do several things which I believe are the key for keeping my heart healthy, first and foremost, I do not smoke. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease.

Gaurav K. Sharma, MD

I removed processed foods from my diet.

“Keeping your heart healthy is about eating a diet that is low in saturated fat and processed foods. I have been advocating for my patients to adopt a similar diet plan. I try to stay as close to a diet consisting of mainly fruits, vegetables, grains, unprocessed foods with a small amount of animal products that are difficult to avoid (such as egg whites, fish, lean meat).”

Steve Attanasio, DO

I watch how much salt I eat.

“I eat very little sodium in my diet. High amounts of sodium can raise your blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. I do occasionally enjoy chips when visiting with friends, but I eat small portions and my diet mostly consists of fresh, organic foods — including lots of fruits and vegetables — which are rich in vitamins and minerals, and help to lower your cardiovascular risk factors. So, I'm very conscious of the amount of sodium and salt I consume.”

— Tochi Okwuosa, DO

I don't eat meat.

“I became a vegetarian about 15 years ago, and it has made a noticeable difference. I feel healthier and more energetic. I occasionally have sushi and don’t feel guilty about it. Dessert makes me feel happy, so I don’t deprive myself. But I just don’t overindulge.”

P. Raghu Reddy, MD

I drink lots of water.

Keeping our bodies hydrated helps our hearts pump blood more easily and allows oxygen to reach our muscles, which helps our muscles work efficiently. So, I drink a ton of water — usually around 3 to 4 liters a day.”

— Tochi Okwuosa, DO

I eat a healthy diet.

My diet mainly consists of pulses (chickpeas, lentils, beans and other edible seeds in the legume family), whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and occasionally grilled chicken and fish. I try my best to avoid processed food and keep my portion sizes limited.

Gaurav K. Sharma, MD

I believe moderation is key.

“My mantra in life is that everything is good in moderation. I enjoy what I eat, but I don't feel the necessity to finish everything on my plate. I try my best to get plenty of sleep, and I incorporate exercise in my daily routine. I always tell my patients to be gentle with themselves when finding a healthy balance. Not every day will be perfect and that’s OK. We each have our own journeys toward living a more heart-healthy lifestyle.”

— Melissa Tracy, MD

I see the bright side.

“I try to stay positive and smile often. I feel people treat me with the same positivity when they see that, so the approach helps everyone.”

P. Raghu Reddy, MD

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