5 Science-Backed Ways To Reduce Heart Disease

The World Health Organization published a study that outlines behavioral changes that cause an estimated 80 percent of heart disease.

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. No one likes to feel tricked, especially about their health. That’s why every weekday, we make sense of the confusing world of wellness with quick tips designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Reducing 80% of heart disease

  • Like fitness for your brain

  • How psychedelics are changing depression treatment

  • You’ll never think of fiber the same way

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Can We Reduce 80% of Heart Disease?

“Health optimization” is a billion-dollar business, but most of the best things to improve your health don’t require much money.

The World Health Organization published a study that estimates 80 percent of instances of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes could be prevented by practicing five daily habits. 

Estimates are estimates, but anything close to an 80 percent improvement is worth the change. The five habits include:

  • Eating whole, plant-based foods each day

  • Sleeping at least 6 hours per day (ideally 7 to 9 hours)

  • Moving 150 minutes per week

  • Avoiding tobacco and alcohol

  • Prioritizing social interactions

As you can see, the majority don’t require money — just commitment and consistency.

But here’s the real secret: if you want to see improvements, don’t take on too much at once. That’s how habits fail. Instead, focus on building one or two habits at a time. Once the changes feel automatic, then you can add more. 

Like Fitness For Your Brain

Every time we encourage people to set three daily goals, we are shocked and inspired at how many people want to learn a language.

But maybe it shouldn't be a surprise. Research suggests that learning a language is fitness for your brain. It increases your short-term memory, attention, focus, and problem-solving.

That's why Babbel was a totally organic partnership for us. We saw that members of the village want to learn languages. And, one of the members of the Pump App works there and introduced us to their process and teachers, and we were amazed by how well it works. Babbel’s teaching method has been scientifically proven to be effective, with users starting to have basic conversations in a new language after just three weeks of practice.

We always tell you that we’ll only do partnerships when they are real. It doesn’t get more real than this. For those planning to work on a language for 10 minutes a day, it doesn't get any better than Babbel. 

For a limited time, get up to 60 percent off your subscription. Click here to pick the language you want to learn and pump up your cognitive fitness.

How Psychedelics Are Changing Depression Treatment

Arnold’s thoughts on ayahuasca led to many emails asking if he thinks all psychedelics are bad. As Arnold told us, “It was never about the magic tea; it was about people’s expectations about life and how that influences happiness.”

Our job is to make sense of the confusing world of wellness without an agenda, and recent research suggests that psychedelics have many potential positive outcomes — and might be more effective at treating depression than traditional anti-depressants. 

In the study, scientists randomly assigned individuals battling depression to either psilocybin (the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms”) or an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), which is a common method of treating depression). 

Those taking psilocybin improved their symptoms of depression just as much as those using SSRIs, and they had fewer negative side effects. It’s essential to note that both groups used the medications in combination with therapy. In fact, every participant received between 38 and 40 hours of psychotherapy. Any drug alone is not as effective as putting in the work, addressing underlying causes, and developing new ways of processing and managing your emotions. (Remember, there is no magic pill!)

On some measures, the psilocybin even performed better. The scientists found that more people responded better to the psychedelic treatment (70 percent responsiveness) than the SSRI group (48 percent responsiveness). And the rate of remission was higher in the psilocybin group, too. 

Over the last decade, the research on psychedelics has expanded, and science suggests many positive applications, including PTSD and end-of-life care.

You’ll Never Think of Fiber The Same Way

Fiber might be the least sexy of all nutrition ingredients — but it also might be one of the most impactful changes you could make to your diet.

Recent research suggests fiber improves digestive health, controls hunger, lowers cholesterol, and helps with heart health and weight loss — and the latest science reveals it might also help protect your brain from dementia. 

The scientists followed 3,700 adults between 40 and 64 and reviewed dietary logs they kept for 16 years. Then, they tracked their health for the next 20 years. The people who ate the most fiber had the lowest rates of dementia, and those who ate the least amount of fiber had the highest rates of dementia. 

If you need a goal, the magic number appears to be at least 20 grams per day (and ideally more). And for those keeping score at home, the USDA recommends at least 30 grams of fiber daily. 

What’s the connection between fiber and your brain? One study suggests that inflammation in the gut could result in toxins in your brain that contribute to Alzheimer’s. It’s just one more reason to bump up the fiber in your life. If you want to start eating more fiber, include more beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, berries, avocados, pears, whole grains, peas, broccoli, potatoes, and edamame.

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell