You’ve just learned your calcium score is zero, so now it’s time to learn how to keep it at zero. How long can it last before it might go up?
This depends on several factors.
If your calcium score is zero, this is not a green light to make a habit of filling up on junk food or food that contains the toxic trans fats, such as Marie Callender’s chicken pot pies.
That junk food junkie whose calcium score is through the ceiling surely at one point in his or her life had a zero score.
Its increase can be drastically delayed — or drastically sped up. That’s up to your lifestyle choices.
A calcium score of zero means you need to commit to lifestyle habits that will keep it a zero.
This doesn’t mean you cannot indulge occasionally in foods with high amounts of sugars and saturated fats.
However, avoid trans fats. For instance, if you love brownies, find a brand that does not contain trans fats or, you can make them from scratch.
Cardiologist Explains How to Keep a Zero Calcium Score
“The best things to help maintain this would be diet and exercise,” says Dr. Sameer Sayeed, a cardiologist at ColumbiaDoctors of Somers, NY.
“Brisk walking or bicycling or swimming 30 minutes daily, seven days per week and part of a strict regimen,” says Dr. Sayeed. In addition, he says:
- “Avoiding sodium, excess sugar, all fried foods
- Avoiding high fat, high cholesterol foods
- Avoiding fast-foods
- Trying to make one’s diet primarily fruits, vegetables, baked or grilled seafood, especially salmon and tuna, and baked or grilled poultry.
- Limiting red meat intake, dairy product intake and avoiding tobacco and alcohol and stress are also important.
- Supplements that may be useful include fish oil or krill oil (omega 3)and flax seed oil (omega 6).”
Another habit you can add to the list to help keep your coronary calcium score zero — or at least, from getting higher — is that of strength training.
Don’t just do aerobic exercise. Strength training is good for the heart. Just be sure you do it safely with good form.
Lastly, if you’re overweight, work on getting down to a weight that your doctor will be happy with.
If you’re overweight but can slowly jog up a long trail or get through a rigorous group fitness class … great!
But you still need to get down to a healthier weight if you want to maximize your health and keep your calcium score at zero.
Dr. Sayeed performs echocardiograms and stress tests at the Midtown Manhattan and Westchester offices at Columbia Doctors. He is also trained in cardiac CT imaging.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.