Among Americans, heart disease is the leading cause of death. Someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds in the United States. While the statistics on heart disease are frightening, heart disease is generally preventable for those who do not have pre-existing heart conditions.
That said, there are challenges and several risk factors that cannot be changed, including family history, gender, or age. Additionally, some people do not have access to heart-healthy foods and others do not have the opportunity to see a doctor and obtain information about your current health status.
For the most part, the average person can significantly reduce their risk of heart disease with simple lifestyle changes, like the nine steps detailed here.
The health tips don’t end here. See tips for help you stop drinking alcohol, a dietary supplement that also helps sleep and the The best foods to lower blood pressure..
1. Take a daily walk
Decades of research support cardiovascular exercise as a first defense against heart disease. Walking is an easy and simple way to get cardiovascular exercise, and you can do it virtually anywhere outdoors or indoors with a treadmill.
Studies show that walking can prevent the risk of heart disease despite being a less intense modality than other forms of cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, jogging or cycling. Further, research suggests that more people follow a walking plan over time compared to other types of exercise, making walking more effective in the long term (no exercise is effective if you don’t continue it).
You always can make your walk more intense if you want to improve your health even more.
Related: The best treadmill for 2022
2. Strength train several times a week
Most research on heart health and exercise has focused on aerobic exercise such as walking. An emerging body of research points to resistance training as another way to reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, a study 2018 found that lifting weights for less than an hour a week could reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by up to 70%, independent of aerobic exercise, making these results even more significant.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, this profound effect probably has something to do with the way weight lifting changes body composition. Lifting weights helps you build muscle and lose fat. Excess body fat is a main risk factor for heart diseaseso any exercise that helps you reduce body fat is helpful.
You don’t need a gym or stylish outfit to begin strength training. Bodyweight exerciseslike air squats, push-ups, and lunges, provide the same strengthening benefits at home.
3. Eat heart-healthy foods
Many delicious foods have a direct link to better heart health. In general, a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats from nuts, seeds, fish, and oils promotes heart health. If you don’t have access to fresh produce, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables work just as well (just be aware of your salt intake when eating canned foods).
4. Limit foods linked to heart disease
On the other hand, several foods have direct links to heart disease. To reduce your risk of heart disease, limit foods high in fat and sugar, such as chips and store-bought desserts. Highly processed foods, including most fast food, processed meats (think hot dogs and cold cuts), and boxed snacks like Twinkies and crackers, also contain heart-damaging ingredients.
Specifically, look for trans fats (hydrogenated oils) and high-fructose corn syrup, two common key ingredients that are not good for your heart. Trans fats increase “bad” fats cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, while high fructose corn syrup is a Driver of several heart disease risk factors. and comorbidities.
Side note: Don’t be afraid of saturated fats alone, as they Research has debunked the myth. that saturated fat alone causes heart disease. Many healthy foods, such as avocados and cheese, contain saturated fat. Processed foods are usually high in saturated fat, but even more so are trans fats and refined carbohydrates search for
5. Quit smoking
By now it is common knowledge that smoking is simply bad for your health. Your heart is no exception. According to the Food and Drug Administration, cigarette smoking is a main cause of cardiovascular diseaseincluding heart attacks and strokes.
Smoking harms your cardiovascular system in some ways: Causes plaque buildup in the arteries, changes blood chemistry, thickens it, and permanently damages the heart muscle and blood vessels. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says that even an occasional cigarette can cause substantial damage.
6. Limit alcohol consumption
We’re not here to tell you that you can’t enjoy your favorite cocktail or have a cold one on game day, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the consequences of overindulgence. alcohol consumption. Drinking too much is generally bad for all of the body’s systems.
When it comes specifically to heart health, alcohol has been linked to various cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, and stroke. The exact ratios vary greatly depending on the amount and pattern of consumption.
The American Heart Association maintains that drinking in moderation is fine, but once you exceed that mark (one drink per day for women and two for men), things get worse. Plus, the link between red wine and heart health Isn’t everything so clear?.
7. Keep stress levels low
More research is needed to understand exactly how stress contributes to heart disease, but scientists have observed a link between stress and heart health. To begin with, high levels of chronic stress can trigger unhealthy coping habits, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating a lot of foods high in fat or sugar. Stress also undermines the body’s ability to rest and sleep.
Researchers have even identified a specific and unusual type of heart attack called takotsubo cardiomyopathyalso know as Stress cardiomyopathy and “broken heart syndrome.” This condition has been linked to emotional trauma, but many patients with this condition have without identifiable cause.
Don’t underestimate the impact of stress on your heart. While stress is unavoidable and unavoidable at times, it helps to have a handful of stress relief tactics to rely on in times of extreme pressure.
8. Prioritize sleep
If there was a miracle drug, it would probably be sleep, closely followed by exercise. Scientists have positioned sleep deprivation as a risk factor for heart disease due to the inverse relationships between sleep duration and cardiovascular diseases: it seems that the less sleep one gets, the greater the risk of suffering cardiovascular events.
Insomnia and sleep apnea have also been linked to heart diseaseand the duration and quality of sleep appear to have a direct effect on blood pressure. Indirectly, lack of sleep makes people make worse food decisions and Lack of motivation to exercise.which increase the risk of heart disease.
Read more: Why you should skip your workout if you didn’t get enough sleep
9. Consult your doctor and stay up to date with your medical records.
If you can, schedule an annual checkup with your doctor to make sure everything is in order.
Getting a blood test that checks your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and other important health markers can help you keep a close eye on your heart health. If you don’t have a primary care doctor, call the nearest urgent care or walk-in clinic to see if it offers basic blood tests. At least, control your blood pressure with a monitor at home It gives you an indication of how you are doing. Keep track of your health records so you can identify any changes or patterns over time.
If any signs of heart disease arise, do not fear ask your doctor any questions. Make sure you understand what the numbers mean, what changes you might need to make in your lifestyle, and whether you will need any medications. Being an advocate for your own health will take you far.
Do you want more health tips? Read here how to naturally cure an upset stomach, 8 tips to help you quit smoking and How 15 minutes a day can make you fitter.