Cardiovascular disease is still the number one health threat affecting men and women in the U.S. today, according to the American Heart Association. Although heart disease is the No.1 killer, it is often preventable. Here are 25 ways to keep a heart healthy.
List of heart healthy tips:
1. Quit smoking as soon as you can. Over 50% of people who suffer heart attacks are smokers.
2. Control your weight because excess weight can put you at risk for heart disease.
3. Get screened by your doctor to determine your risk of heart disease. Know your numbers (blood pressure and cholesterol).
4. You should learn about your family history. You are at increased risk if you have a very close relative who had heart disease before age 55 (male) or 65 (women).
5. Eat whole-grain cereal seven or more times a week.
6. Minimize trans fat and saturated fat. They are found in pre-packaged baked goods with long shelf-lives.
7. Eat more low glycemic index, high fiber foods. They decrease cholesterol and control blood sugar levels.
8. You should include soy protein into your daily diet. Many studies proved that soy protein is able to lower levels of total cholesterol as well as “bad” cholesterol.
9. Consume more omega-3 fatty acids. They support a healthy cardiovascular system by increasing “good” cholesterol and reducing “bad” cholesterol, triglycerides, plaque build-up, blood clots and inflammation. Good sources of omega 3s are fresh water fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
10. Include antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, dark chocolate with 70 percent cocoa and red wine.
11. Include anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as curcumin and ginger. They work in the same way as anti-inflammatory drugs.
12. A recent research found that cranberries are powerful natural defense against the development of heart disease. It was discovered that cranberries are very rich in antioxidants. The benefits of consuming them include effects on cholesterol and blood pressure as well as the development of blood clots.
13. Eat about five ounces of nuts each week; they are rich in the right kind of fat for your heart.
14. Almonds are especially good for the heart health. They are proven to protect against heart disease. Eat ten almonds at a time!
15. Eat the tropical fruit mangosteen. It contains a group of extremely powerful antioxidants. Other fruits to include in your daily diet: guava and acai berries.
16. Take multivitamin and mineral supplements.
17. Reduce intake of soft and energy drinks.
18. Limit your salt intake to 2,300 milligrams a day. Don’t add extra salt to food.
19. Drink alcohol in moderation. A recent study confirmed that drinking alcohol (for women one standard drink and up to two standard drinks for men a day) helps prevent heart attack. Grapes (and foods made from grapes, such as red wine) are very rich in two powerful substances: quercitin and resveratrol. They are not just good for the heart but are responsible for the extension of lifespan.
20. Brush your teeth and gums every single day. Periodontal disease is linked to higher rates of heart disease.
21. You should have 30 to 45 minutes of cardio exercises 6 times a week in addition to strength training to build muscle and reduce body fat.
22. Reduce stress and relax your nervous system with relaxation exercises such as yoga, meditation, and breathing. Laugh a few times a day.
23. Get eight hours of sleep. Lack of sleep is linked to increased risk of developing heart disease. On the other hand, people who sleep too much also have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
24. Don’t take any medications without consulting your doctor.