Adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle with five simple tips

Keeping your heart healthy is important to your overall health. With five simple lifestyle changes, you can be on your way to improving your heart health.

Stop smoking

Smoking or using tobacco is a major risk factor for developing heart disease, as the chemicals in tobacco damage your heart and blood vessels, which can cause a heart attack.

Exercise

Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise each day to help reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Maintain a healthy diet and body weight

While fad diet options may seem like an easy fix, they are often hard to keep up and can be extremely restrictive. Instead, focus your diet on balanced nutrition. In addition, limit your saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium intake to reduce your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Lower your alcohol consumption

 Drinking alcohol damages your heart muscle and can increase your blood pressure. Excessive drinking also leads to weight gain and puts you at risk of having a heart attack.

Know your numbers

Regular health screenings can help you monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and help identify areas you may need to pay special attention to. It is recommended that adults have their blood pressure checked at least every two years, and their cholesterol measured at least once every five years starting at age 20.¹ Diabetes is a risk factor for developing heart disease, and is another screening you may want to consider.

Making an overall heart-healthy diet and exercise part of your life can help you minimize your risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

1. Mayo Clinic, “5 Medication-Free Strategies to Help Prevent Heart Disease,” accessed January 3, 2014,

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease-prevention/ART-20046502.

 Sources

American Heart Association, “Overall Heart-Healthy Diet Is More Important than Occasional Indulgences,” accessed January 3, 2014, http://blog.heart.org/overall-heart-healthy-diet-is-more-important-than-occasional-indulgences/.

WebMD, “Heart Health Tips from a Top Cardiologist,” accessed January 3, 2014, http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/cardiologists-guide-to-a-healthy-heart?page=2.

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