Here’s heartwarming news: People with a family history of heart disease who also had a positive outlook were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event within five to 25 years than those with a more negative outlook.
That’s the finding from Johns Hopkins expert Lisa R. Yanek, M.P.H., and her colleagues. The finding held even in people with family history who had the most risk factors for coronary artery disease, and positive people from the general population were 13 percent less likely than their negative counterparts to have a heart attack or other coronary event.
Yanek and her team determined “positive” versus “negative” outlook using a survey tool that assesses a person’s cheerfulness, energy level, anxiety levels and satisfaction with health and overall life. But you don’t need a survey to assess your own positivity, says Yanek. “I think people tend to know how they are.”
Avoid trans fats. These artery-clogging fats threaten fertility as well harm the heart and blood vessels. Go trans free.
Use more unsaturated vegetable oils. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin and cool inflammation, two trends that are good for fertility. Add in more vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and cold water fish such as salmon and sardines. Cut back on saturated fat.
Turn to vegetable protein. Replacing a serving of meat each day with beans, peas, soybeans or tofu, or nuts can improve fertility.
Choose slow carbs, not no carbs. Choosing slowly digested carbohydrates that are rich in fiber, like whole grains, vegetables, whole fruits, and beans, instead of rapidly digested carbs can improve fertility by controlling blood sugar and insulin levels.
Make it whole milk. Skim milk appears to promote infertility. If you drink milk, choose whole milk while trying to get pregnant, or have a small dish of ice cream or full-fat yogurt every day.
Take a multi-vitamin. Getting extra folic acid (400 micrograms a day) before you get pregnant could actually help you start eating for two.
Get plenty of iron from plants. Extra iron from plants, including whole-grain cereals, spinach, beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, and beets, appears to promote fertility.
Drink to your health. The best beverage for keeping your body hydrated is water. Coffee, tea, and alcohol are okay in moderation. But skip sugared sodas—they appear to promote ovulatory infertility.
Head toward the fertility zone for weight. Weighing too much or too little can interrupt normal menstrual cycles, throw off ovulation or stop it altogether. The best range for fertility is a body-mass index (BMI) of 20 to 24. Working to move your BMI in that direction by gaining or losing some weight is almost as good.
Move to the fertility zone for activity. If you don’t get much physical activity and are above the fertility zone for weight, daily exercise can help improve fertility. But don’t overdo it: too much exercise, especially if you are quite lean, can interfere with ovulation.