Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and strokes come in at number five. The biggest way to prevent this? Living a heart healthy lifestyle. It sounds easy enough, but many people struggle with committing to this kind of lifestyle or don’t take it seriously until it’s too late. Check out our lifestyle tips for a healthy heart!
- Stop smoking. No ifs, ands, or butts about it–smoking isn’t good for you, and it certainly isn’t good for your heart. As difficult as quitting may be, suffering from a heart attack or stroke is harder.
- Eat healthy. Food impacts so much, and it’s one of the most powerful tools you have against heart disease. Focus on a diet with veggies, fruits, and whole grains (whole wheat products). You can also include low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes (peanuts , peas, beans, etc.), nontropical vegetable oils (tropical oils are coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils), and nuts, but limit sweats, sugary drinks, and red meats.
- Exercise. At least 150 minutes each week of moderate physical activity has been shown to improve your heart health and chronic conditions that affect it. If you can’t manage 150 minutes, do what you can. Some activity is better than none.
- Get weight under control. Obesity means a higher risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance, which are all factors that affect your heart health. Follow the tips above on eating healthy and exercising to manage your weight.
- Manage chronic conditions. Things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes all affect your heart health. Taking steps to manage your weight, eat right, and get moving can all help to manage these conditions.
- Reduce stress. We know this one is easier said than done, but there is a link between stress and heart disease. Exercising, getting enough sleep, mindfulness, and time with loved ones can all help with stress levels.
- Limit alcohol. Drinking too much can have a negative impact on your heart health (among other things), but some alcohol in moderation is okay and may actually help (two drinks per day for men, one drink per day for women).
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