Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women? Nearly 1 in every 4 deaths can be related to it. Luckily, February is American Heart Month, which makes now the perfect time to learn all you can about heart disease and how you can reduce your risk!
How do you know if you are at risks? Well, there are a few controllable risk factors – meaning you can work on changing these for a lower risk.They include high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, poor diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use. There are also uncontrollablerisk factors – meaning, unfortunately, they are out of your control.These include gender, age, family history, and post-menopausal women.
Today, I am here to focus on how youcan work on the “controllable” risk factors for heart disease to reduce your overall risk!
5 Steps to Prevent Heart Disease
1. Choose a Healthy Eating Plan-Aim to keep your diet focused on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean meats, legumes and heart healthy fats. Work on limiting saturated fats, trans fats and sodium.
- Whole-grain products contain healthy amounts of fiber, which can help reduce your cholesterol levels.
- Leaner meats include chicken, turkey and fish.
- Heart healthy fats include monounsaturated fatty acids, which you can get from olive oil, avocado, fatty fish and nuts!
2. Be Physically Active-American Heart Associationrecommends exercising for 150 min each week. This equals out to 30 min per day. Feel like you don’t have time to exercise or go to the gym? Take the stairs instead of an elevator. Plan an at home workout to do before work, or in the evening. Be sure to include muscle-strengthening exercises.
3. Get Routine Check-ups-It’s important to haveregular wellness checks so you can keep on top of your controllable risk factors!
4. Tame Your Stress-Stress causes an increase in your heart rate and pressure. Too much stress may damage your artery walls. It’s important to learn ways you can manage your stress to benefit your body and quality of life. Try taking a walk, reading a book, talking with a friend or exercising!
5. Quit smoking: Smoking is directly linked to heart disease. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about putting a strategy in place to help you quit smoking.
Proper nutrition and exercise is the basis for preventing heart disease. Try to make small changes in your lifestyle and food choices that will give you a healthier heart and preventing disease!
Looking for more dietary guidance. Check out my Heart Healthy Cooking Tips!
Your Turn to Take Action:What change will you make to improve your heart health? Let me know in the comments below!