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Dr. Clyde Yancy is the Chief of Cardiology at Northwestern  Medicine and former president of the American Heart Association, so it’s no wonder he’s a big fan of the AHA’s ‘Simple Seven.’  These seven recommendations are vital for maintaining overall wellness.

Yancy says, “What’s phenomenal about this idea is that it improves overall health. So the target originally was about heart health, but we now know that it reduces some of the other chronic diseases, particularly cancers.”

Let’s examine the Simple Seven.

1. Don’t Smoke.

Dr. Yancy says:  Don’t do it. There’s no other way to describe that. Simple. And remember that the alternatives to smoking are not suitable. So cigars—one cigar a month is just like having a pack of cigarettes every day.

2. Stay Active.

Dr. Yancy says:  You don’t need spandex. You don’t need a personal trainer. You don’t need a gym membership. You just need a commitment to spend about 20 to 40 minutes a day walking. That’s the newsflash.

3. Weight Management

Dr. Yancy says: Many people believe they’ve got a good a weight because they’ve seen themselves look this way for a long time. That’s not just extra weight and baggage; it is actually tissue that is driving your body to produce more hardening of the arteries.

 4. Healthy Diet.

Dr. Yancy says:  Whatever you’re eating, eat less of it. And in addition, change what you’re eating. It’s a really simple strategy. You want more whole grains; you want more fruits, nuts, fiber; you want more vegetables. You also want less red meat, not zero red meat, because some is okay. You also want to add fish and poultry.

5. Blood Pressure

Dr. Yancy says: It should be less than 120/80, unless you’re taking medicines, and then it should be less than 140/90.

6. Blood Sugar:

Dr. Yancy says: Blood sugar should be less than 100.

7. Cholesterol

Dr. Yancy says: Cholesterol should be less than 200. There’s so much noise about cholesterol. Let’s really make this simple. A high cholesterol is a bad thing. It puts you at risk for heart disease; it puts you at risk for stroke.