10 Best Heart-Healthy Products for Your Home
With these 10 doctor-approved products and devices, you can monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, or start a heart-healthy exercise program.
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Matters of the heart
The phrase “listen to your heart” turns up a lot in pop music, but it happens to be sound advice where your health is concerned as well. According to a 2019 report from the American Heart Association, 121.5 million adults in the United States have cardiovascular disease. That’s 48 percent—nearly half of the population.
“Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States and Western nations,” explains David Rizik, MD, chief scientific officer and director of coronary and structural interventions at Honor Health Medical Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. “It is now a growing concern in China and developing countries, like India, where it is the fastest-growing cause of death.” (Here’s more on how many people die from heart disease each year.)
As we age, it’s even more important that we pay close attention to heart health. “Cardiac disease becomes more prevalent as we get older, and as the risk factor profile continues to get significant,” says Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, MD, chairman of the American College of Cardiology’s Electrophysiology Council, executive medical director, and professor of medicine at Kansas City Heart Rhythm Institute in Overland Park, Kansas. “Humans in general have grown rounder and heavier, with increased early onset of the traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease and cardiac rhythm disorders like atrial fibrillation.”
The best way to stay on top of things is to take a proactive approach when it comes to heart health, explains Dr. Rizik. “Science has shown that a proactive approach can reduce cardiovascular deaths.” (Check out these heart-healthy recipes cardiologists cook for themselves.)
To help, we’ve rounded up some doctor and medical professional-approved at-home products to help you keep your heart beating healthily.
Withings BPM Connect
Using ECG and a digital stethoscope, this FDA-cleared device can accurately measure your blood pressure and heart rate in the comfort of your own home. “This is a blood pressure monitoring device that is very important for people who have a family history of hypertension and are currently suffering from hypertension; they can keep good track of their blood pressure recordings at home and measure response to treatment,” explains Dr. Lakkireddy. (Here’s a list of other at-home blood pressure monitors you might want to consider buying.)
Fitbit Sense Smartwatch
Strap on this smartwatch and besides tracking your activity, sleep, and heart rate, the device is able to assess your heart for a heart rhythm irregularity, and share the results with your doctor. “This can be effective means for monitoring heart rate,” says Dr. Rizik. “They can be especially important at detecting arrhythmia like atrial fibrillation, a leading cause of stroke.” (Here are simple ways you can lower your heart rate.)
Gaiam Yoga Mat
Roll out this yoga mat, and log into your favorite class on Zoom or through an app on your phone, knowing your heart can be reaping the benefits. Recent studies have shown that yoga may help protect against heart disease. “Yoga is an excellent cardiovascular risk modifier,” explains Dr. Lakkireddy. “It helps to modulate the cardiac autonomic system. It also improves heart rate variability, systemic inflammation, and decreases stress.”
NordicTrack Commercial S15i Studio Cycle
Bring your interactive cycling workout home (especially during a time when group fitness isn’t readily available) with the purchase of this bike and accompanying iFit membership (and the first year is included for free). There are live classes daily that you can follow along with or even allow the instructor to take control of your bike to set resistance according to their workout; there’s also a library that offers thousands of cycling and cross-training workout videos. “Regular at-home exercise with a bike, elliptical, or treadmill is an excellent way to maintain cardiovascular fitness,” says Dr. Rizik. “Before embarking on an exercise program though, it’s best to check with your physician to make certain that it is a safe undertaking for you.”
OMRON HeartGuide Wearable Blood Pressure Monitor
Simply place this smartwatch over your heart and wait as it records your blood pressure reading in just 30 seconds. The company claims it’s the first wearable to do so! It also has the ability to track steps, activity, sleep patterns, and receive smartphone notifications, when connected via Bluetooth. “In my opinion, the OMRON HeartGuide and other OMRON related products have been invaluable tools for home monitoring of blood pressure and pulse,” says Dr. Rizik. “We use these devices a great deal in our cardiovascular practice. They have also gained wide acceptance among healthcare professionals.”
Headspace meditation app
$13 a month (free the first week)
Subscribe to this app and choose from weekly, monthly, or just single meditations based on the type of stress management you’re looking to receive. “Web-based tools and mobile applications to reduce stress, and mitigate burnout, depression, and suicides is a burgeoning field of scientific inquiry,” says Dr. Lakkireddy. “Meditation is a well-known stress reduction technique. If this tool really claims to be capable of doing this then it’s a winner.”
$30 monthly membership
This low profile strap has the goal of helping you optimize the way you train, recover, and sleep based on daily analytic reports, using the band’s continuous heart rate tracking. “This device can be helpful for tracking heart rate and, in some cases, detecting serious irregularities in heart rate that can be a sign of a larger issue,” explains Sarah Hallberg, DO, medical director at Virta Health.
Place your fingers on this conveniently domino-sized EKG device and the companion phone app displays the reading on your phone. Store them or email them to your doctor if something doesn’t look right. “This is an incredibly beneficial heart rate monitoring app,” says Dr. Rizik. “I have personally had a half dozen patients in 2020 in whom a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation was accurately made using this device and app. This is of critical importance as atrial fibrillation is a leading cause of strokes. In one particular instance, the patient was experiencing palpitations, texted me his rhythm utilizing the KARDIA app, and I was able to make the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, triaging him to emergency room evaluation. Here’s the kicker, he was 2,000 miles away and still I was able to advise him on obtaining acute care in an emergency room in his hometown.”
Prodigy Glucose Monitor Kit
If blood sugar levels are a concern, consider purchasing this kit that can help you monitor your levels at home or on the go. It comes with 100 strips, speaks four languages (including English, Spanish, French, and Arabic), and can provide results in just seven seconds. Plus, it can store up to 450 results in case you need to go back and reference past readings. “I recommend considering intermittent use of a continuous glucose monitor for anyone who is overweight or has a family history of type 2 diabetes,” says Hallberg.
Withings Body Cardio
Track your standing heart rate, body composition (including weight, BMI, body fat, water percentage, muscle mass, and bone mass), and review your progress over time by syncing your results to the compatible smartphone app via WiFi. Set a weight goal, and the app will provide you with charts, tips, and encouragement to help you get there.
- American Heart Association: "Cardiovascular diseases affect nearly half of American adults, statistics show"
- David Rizik, MD, fellow of the American College of Cardiology, chief scientific officer and director of coronary and structural interventions at Honor Health Medical Center in Scottsdale, Arizona
- Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, MD, FACC, FHRS, chairman of the American College of Cardiology Electrophysiology Council, executive medical director and professor of medicine at Kansas City Heart Rhythm Institute in Overland Park, Kansas
- Yoga International: "New Study Highlights Yoga's Cardiovascular Benefits"
- Sarah Hallberg, DO, MS, medical director at Virta Health, and adjunct clinical assistant professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine