28 Tips to Prevent Heart Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year, which is about one in every four deaths. It is believed the number of cardiovascular disease deaths, mainly from heart disease and stroke, will increase to more than 23 million by the year 2030. The numbers truly make you stop and think. Building heart-healthy behaviors into your daily routine can extend your life and improve your quality of life. Staying healthy begins with knowing your risk and taking measures to protect yourself from heart disease. Here are 28 tips to improve your heart health and lower your risk for heart disease.
- Eat at least two servings of baked or grilled fish per week, especially oily fish like salmon and sardines.
- Exercise, eating a healthy diet and limiting alcohol can help lower your blood pressure.
- Check your family history. If a close relative is at risk or has developed heart disease, you may be at risk, too.
- The color of your veggies is important. The more colorful, the more likely a veggie has heart-protective antioxidants.
- Keep a food journal. You might be surprised at how much you’re eating in a day.
- Although red wine may raise HDL (good) cholesterol, don’t overdo it. One glass a day for women, two for men is all you need to reap the benefits.
- Lift weights. Strength training lowers blood pressure and helps your heart beat more efficiently.
- Green tea can help prevent plaque buildup and relax blood vessels.
- Laugh more. Research shows laughing improves circulation.
- Avocados are a great source of healthy fat and can help raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.
- Get a cholesterol screening. After age 20, it’s important to get your levels tested every 5 years.
- Follow Popeye’s lead and opt for spinach. Just ½ cup a day may protect your heart.
- Looking for heart-healthy veggies? Broccoli and cauliflower are great because of their fiber content.
- Eat dark chocolate, which contains catechins, a potent antioxidant.
- Meditate. A calm state helps de-stress and gives your brain a much-needed rest.
- Vitamins C, E and B-complex as well as folic acid may prevent heart disease. Make sure to get plenty in your diet.
- Avoid frying foods. Always bake, broil, grill or steam.
- Make half your plate fruit and vegetables.
- Drink water instead of a sugary drink.
- Avoid trans fats. A high intake of them increases the risk of heart disease.
- Use herbs and spices to cut down on sodium intake.
- If you smoke, make a plan to stop. Set a quit date and mark it on your calendar.
- Aim for 25 grams of fiber a day. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk for heart disease.
- Instead of sitting at your computer during your lunch break, get outside and go for a walk.
- Know the early signs of coronary heart disease, such as tightness or discomfort in the chest.
- Wear a pedometer, like a Fitbit, and aim for 10,000 steps a day.
- Don’t neglect your sleep — 6-8 hours a night will help protect your heart.
- Need a snack? Opt for nuts. Most of the fat is the healthy kind.
To learn more about heart and vascular services offered at Houston Methodist or to schedule an appointment, visit houstonmethodist.org or call 713-790-3333.
Information provided by Houston Methodist Hospital.