Did you know there are eight things you can do to prevent heart disease? Even better, they all support each other. You do one, and it helps you in doing another one. Check out the top eight behaviors that help prevent heart disease below.
1. Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid heart disease and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high blood cholesterol. Limiting salt or sodium in your diet can also lower your blood pressure.
2. Manage a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI). Calculate yours here with our free BMI calculator.
3. Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. If you can do more, great.
The above three behaviors go hand-in-hand. Eat healthy and exercise to help yourself manage a healthy weight. The next three controllable heart disease risks have to do with medical measurements that a regular check-up with your doctor can provide.
4. Prevent type II diabetes. Diabetes increases heart disease risk, your risk for developing diabetes increases if you don’t manage your weight, eat healthy, or exercise. Learn more about type II diabetes.
5. Manage cholesterol levels. When you eat healthy and exercise, you can manage your cholesterol. Some people have a hard time doing this if genetically high cholesterol runs in their family. However, that doesn’t mean you should avoid healthy eating and exercise. Those changes matter, too.
6. Keep your blood pressure healthy. By eating healthy foods and controlling salt intake to about 2100 mg/day or less you can manage your blood pressure. If it gets too high your heart has to work too hard and that can be dangerous.
The last two things you can do don’t have anything to do with eating healthy and exercise, but you can control them.
7. Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. So, if you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease.
8. Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which causes high blood pressure. If you already drink, red wine can be healthy if consumed in moderation, which is about a glass a day or less.
February 8th, 2010