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Heart-Healthy Diet: 8 Steps to Prevent Heart Disease

Heart-Healthy Diet: 8 Steps to Prevent Heart Disease
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the U.S? One American dies every 36 seconds from heart disease. Those staggering statistics prove the importance of doing all we can to prevent heart disease. The good news is that, for the most part, heart disease is avoidable. Keep reading to learn the eight steps you should take to prevent heart disease.

Make Exercise Part of Your Daily Routine

In addition to a host of other benefits, exercise can strengthen your heart and improve your circulation. Exercise also helps people maintain healthy weights and lower their blood pressure and cholesterol — all factors that can reduce your risk of heart disease. You should aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise each day.

A BMI of 25 or higher is considered overweight. Even slight weight loss can be helpful. Reducing your weight by even 3-5 percent can help lower certain fats in your blood, reduce blood sugar, and decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Limit Your Alcohol Intake

Consuming too much alcohol raises blood pressure and adds extra calories, which could result in weight gain. Both of those factors increase your risk of heart disease. It is advised that women should have no more than one alcoholic drink per day, and men should not have more than two.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking cigarettes raises blood pressure and puts you at an increased risk for both heart attack and stroke. So, if you are not a smoker, don’t start. If you are a smoker, quitting will significantly lower your risk of heart disease. A quick chat with your doctor will provide you with information on how to quit smoking. The good news is that your risk of heart disease will drop significantly as quickly as a day after you quit smoking. After one year without cigarettes, your risk of developing heart disease reduces by half.

Manage Stress

Stress is linked to heart disease in several ways. For one, it can raise your blood pressure. Extreme stress is even considered a trigger for a heart attack. What’s more, some common ways of dealing with stress, like overeating, binge drinking, and smoking, are harmful to your heart. You can manage stress by exercising (good for the heart!), listening to music, meditating, taking a bath, or doing something you love.

Manage Diabetes

Did you know that diabetes doubles your risk of diabetic heart disease? This is due to the fact that high blood sugar from diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves that are responsible for controlling the heart and blood vessels. This is why it’s essential to get tested for diabetes if you are showing any symptoms and manage your diabetes if you have been diagnosed.

Get Enough Sleep

Not getting enough sleep raises the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Those are three contributing factors to heart disease. Adults should aim for seven to nine hours of shuteye each night. If you are having continual difficulty falling or staying asleep, contact your doctor. One common sleep issue is sleep apnea, which causes people to briefly stop breathing several times per night. This interruption interferes with your ability to get a good night’s sleep and can also raise your risk of heart disease.

Consume Heart-Healthy Foods

The first step to preventing heart disease starts on your plate. Eat a healthy diet made up of heart-healthy foods while limiting saturated fat, excess sodium, and added sugars.

Heart-healthy foods include:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Berries
  • Avocados
  • Fatty fish and fish oil. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been researched extensively for their heart-health benefits.
  • Walnuts
  • Beans
  • Dark chocolate
  • Tomatoes
  • Almonds
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Green tea

Salmon and Heart Health

The protein in salmon makes it an excellent choice for a heart-healthy, protein-filled meal. In addition to being a delicious and great source of protein, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, proven to lower the risk of stroke or developing an abnormal heartbeat. The amazing omega-3 content in wild salmon further helps the heart by lowering triglyceride levels, thus reducing blood pressure and preventing the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque. If you’re looking for some great wild-caught salmon options, try VitalChoice Seafood & Organics or Wild Alaskan.

Life Longer and Be Happy!

We hope these tips helped you to understand the causes of heart disease and how we can reduce our risk of getting heart disease better. We can make small changes in our lives that will help us live longer and happier lives.

What are some of your tips to reduce the risk of heart disease? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of this page! We would love to hear yours. 

Kiley took the big leap from working a 9-5 to quitting, getting out her laptop, and becoming a freelancer. Since then, she has found her passion in writing valuable, informative lifestyle and travel articles. After Traveling for years, she knows just how valuable a quick how-to guide can be for readers. This is why she contributes guest posts to various blogs. 

 

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