Do you want to reduce your odds of a stroke or heart attack? Sometimes just simple and easy changes to your lifestyle can be a huge help. Try this 7 Simple Steps to Be Heart-Healthy.
1. Eat a Mediterranean Diet
Studies have found that a Mediterranean diet helps lower your risk of heart disease and overall mortality. This diet is easy and delicious, which consist of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy products and fish.
Key components include olives, nuts, red wine (in moderation) and olive oil. These have been shown to help reduce your risk of heart disease. Also the positive impact of the Mediterranean diet is almost as good as not smoking.
Physical exercise will help keep your heart healthy. You can set a goal to exercise for at least half an hour, three times a week.
Additional exercise is better to a point, but going extreme with strenuous daily workouts may actually undo some of its benefits. So be careful not to over-train.
3. Lower Your Cholesterol
High blood cholesterol greatly increases your chances of developing coronary heart disease. Excess cholesterol in the blood settles on the inner walls of the arteries, narrowing them and which allows less blood to pass through them to the heart.
Aim for total cholesterol that is, 200 mg/dL; LDL cholesterol below , 130 mg/dL and HDL above 35 mg/dL.
4. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity and sedentary lifestyles are epidemics in the United States. It contributes to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The prevalence of obesity has increased for both men and women in the United States in the past decade. Currently, almost one third or 34 million of adult women are classified as obese. Also, 60% of both men and women have no regular physical activity.
5. Quit Smoking
If you smoke, quit. If you cannot do it on your own, use the tools, both behavioral and pharmacologic, to help you. One recent study concluded that not smoking lowers your risk of a heart attack, by more than one third.
6. Stay Fit
Accumulating fat, in particularly abdominal fat, is a big risk factor for heart disease. Therefore, this is another reason to eat right and exercise.
Psychosocial factors play a key role in limiting your risk of heart disease. Anxiety, stress and depression are all risk factors.
It is important to have a strong social support network. These includes family, friends and colleagues, which can help lower your risk.
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