A L.E.A.N. Approach to Heart Health

How to Support Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, so supporting your heart health is a great place to start any health journey!

Taking an individualized approach based on the L.E.A.N. principles (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition) will create a journey to your version of healthy.

L.E.A.N. for Heart Health

A small study recently looked at the impact of diet and exercise on those with heart failure, separating them into three treatment groups – diet only, exercise only and a combination of both diet and exercise. The study found that those who participated in both diet and exercise saw twice the improvement in their oxygen consumption, which boosted their tolerance for exercise.

The Dr. Sears Wellness Institute takes a similar approach when it pertains to supporting overall health – it’s not just doing this or that…it’s doing this and that. Taking a holistic, whole body, approach to wellness is key.

Here are a few ways you can incorporate L.E.A.N. in order to support heart health:


Make it a point to surround yourself with people and situations that will support your heart health journey. This will help you stick to your plan! Find a workout partner, clean out your pantry of all the tempting treats and create a schedule to keep yourself on track with your new exercise and eating choices. Make your health a priority. It’s not just a diet…it’s a lifestyle.


When deciding what type of exercise regime is right for you, keep in mind what Dr. Sears always says: Choose the exercise that you’ll do! Whether you start with a morning walk, an afternoon swim, or a daily jog, make your new exercise activity a priority. Start low and go slow! If you are starting a new weight-training routine, start with lower weights, fewer reps and do slower movements for a shorter time until you feel comfortable in your form and your muscles are ready for the next level. And, most importantly, make exercise fun if possible! Consider taking up a dance class, participate in the group classes at your gym or take the dog for a run.


If you find yourself making excuses when it comes to exercising, here are ways you can reframe and rethink some common excuses people often make. They may just change your attitude about adding exercise into your new healthy lifestyle.

Excuse #1: But I don’t have time. 

Rethink: Then you better reserve more time for the hospital!

Excuse #2: But it’s too expensive

Rethink: If you think wellness is expensive, try illness.

Excuse #3: But I don’t like exercise.

Rethink: So, you like to medicine?

Excuse #4: I enjoy sitting. 

Rethink: Do you also enjoy hurting?

Excuse #5: I have a desk job. 

Rethink: The desk can’t move, but you can!


Eating a diet that’s full of fresh fruits, vegetables and foods that are grown and not made in a factory is the best nutritional step you can take to supporting a healthy heart. One of the highlights of cardiovascular research in the recent years is the 90% reduction in the rate of sudden cardiac death in people who took adequate omega-3s. Omega-3s are not only one of the top therapeutic nutrients, but Dr. Sears argues they are also the number one nutraceutical in preventive medicine!

Eating sufficient omega-3s may have these heart healthy effects:

  • Reduced risk of heart attacks
  • Better blood pressure
  • Lower incidence of angina
  • Stabilized vessel plaque
  • Less risk of sudden cardiac death

Here are the top three ways to achieve optimal omega-3 effect on cardiovascular health:

  1. Eat at least 12 ounces of oily seafood per week and/or take at least 1000 mg of omega-3 EPA/DHA fish oil supplements daily.
  2. Eat more seafood, less meat.
  3. Give yourself an oil change and eat more omega-3 oils.

Now that you have a beginnings of a plan-of-action, it’s time to get to work. Follow Dr. Sears’ four L.E.A.N. pillars to achieve optimal heart health!