10 Things You Can Do Today to Prevent/Reverse Heart Disease

  1. Get moving — incorporate aerobic (cardiovascular), strength, flexibility, balance and coordination into your exercise routine; the bottom line is to stay active
  2. Participate in a community you enjoy – family, friends, church, volunteer, workplace, book club, exercise group, etc.
  3. Know your numbers - Cholesterol, LDL, HDL, Triglycerides, Fasting Glucose, and in some cases hs-CRP, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, insulin levels, HbA1c, and Coronary Calcium Score. Normal Blood pressure is 130/80 or less. Normal BMI is 20 – 25.
  4. Eat plant strong - Eat greens, beans, vibrant colors (fruits and vegetables), whole grains, nuts and seeds. Walk away from the Standard American Diet (SAD) and toward a whole-food, plant-based diet. Plant-Strong Cookbooks: Happy Herbivore, Plant Pure Nation, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook.

SAD (Standard American Diet)

  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Processed grains
  • Fast food/fried food
  • High added sugar
  • Sweets/desserts
  • High salt
  • Calorie dense
  • Low fiber

Whole-food, plant-based

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes (beans, peas)
  • Whole grains
  • Home-cooked meals
  • Nuts, seeds
  • Low added sugar
  • Low added salt
  • Nutrient dense
  • High fiber


  1. Read labels - including both the Nutrition Facts and the Ingredient Lists
  2. Get 7-8 hours of restful sleep every night. 
  3. Spend quality time alone and pursue peacefulness - 15-30 minutes daily, removing yourself from life stressors. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Learn and practice the Relaxation Response (Herbert Benson, MD) and learn to avoid the Fight or Flight Stress response. Examples: meditating, reading, T’ai Chi, yoga, exercising, music, Heart-Math (biofeedback)
  4. Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke
  5. Turn off the TV
  6. Create your own Program - The bigger the investment, the bigger the return

Download 10 Things

Visit the Heart Series 25th Anniversary webpage for videos, including Dr. Katzenberg's community lecture: "Preventing Heart Disease for 25 Years: What We've Learned," and alumni success stories.

Take the Heart Series Risk Assessment to learn your risk of having a heart attack during the next 10 years. 

The cardiologist might retire, but his heart disease prevention legacy remains.

Greg Gilles, Heart Series volunteer, with Dr. Charles Katzenberg and Edna Silva, RN Dr. Charles Katzenberg may have retired from the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson in May 2019, but his heart disease prevention messages have not retired. We thank him for his decades of leadership in cardiovascular medicine, focusing on heart disease prevention. 

"We are so proud that Dr. Katzenberg chose to spend the final years of his professional service at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, sharing his wisdom and experience with colleagues and the learners in our community. His expertise in preventive cardiology, along with his experience and leadership in cardiovascular practice have made him a role model for many," said Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD, director of the UA Sarver Heart Center and chief of cardiology at the UA College of Medicine - Tucson.  Drs. William Roeske, Tom Lassar, Charles Katzenberg, Nancy Sweitzer and Irving Kron

For more health information, please visit our  Heart Health page.

For physician appointment information, please call 520-MyHeart (694-3278).

If you appreciate the content found on our website, please consider a donation to the Sarver Heart Center.