Heart disease continues to be the cause of 1 out of 4 deaths in the United States. 80% of heart disease cases are estimated to be preventable with a lifestyle change and proper education. Choose now to take action and keep your heart healthy. A few tips to consider are listed below.

Mindful Eating

One of the major risk factors for heart disease is obesity.  Focus on a healthy diet for your heart as well as your appearance.

  • Smaller portion size – American restaurants are notorious for serving large portion sizes, much more than an average person could normally eat in one sitting. Try this trick: when going out to eat, ask for a to-go box with your order. Once the meal arrives place half of it in the to-go box. If you are eating with someone else offer to share a meal. Many couples practice this to save expenses and avoid the uncomfortableness of overindulgence.
  • Vegetables and fruit – Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and fiber and satisfying. You are less likely to snack when keeping a supply within reach. Think of vegetables as “safe snacks” and eat more to feel full and avoid choices high in carbohydrates, sugar, and sodium.
  • Whole grains – Comparable to vegetables, whole grains are a significant source of fiber and nutrients. Nutritionists recommend 21 grams of fiber for women and 30 grams for men daily to help regulate blood pressure, control weight and improve heart health.
  • Low-fat protein – Fatty foods are a primary cause of high cholesterol and lead to plaque buildup in arteries. Simple changes, such as eating fish and skinless chicken rather than red meat, decrease the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
  • Sodium reduction – Excess sodium increases blood pressure by holding excess fluid in the body. Retention of fluid creates an added burden on the heart. Too much sodium raises the risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and kidney disease. Foods such as bread and cereals contain high levels of salt. Many canned and processed foods use sodium as a preservative. Soup is extremely high in salt content. Fresh food products and homemade soups and stews help to reduce the sodium content.

Regular Exercise

Physical activity benefits weight while lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Thirty minutes of light exercise is a small investment resulting in huge differences. Activities such as water aerobics are undemanding on joints as are Yoga and Tai Chi. A daily walk could be broken into 10 or 15-minute sessions or completed in one session. Hearts are stimulated with exercise; sleep is improved, and minds are cleared. Strength training burns fat and builds strength while decreasing the chance of injury.

Quit Smoking

We all know smoking is unhealthy. Vaping is equally dangerous. There is no single “quit smoking” plan feasible for everyone. You alone should make the decision to quit… your heart will thank you.

Stay Cognizant of Your Health

All heart diseases are not caused by unhealthy lifestyles. A few heart conditions are genetic and passed down in the family, affecting even those who live healthy lives. Stay on top of symptoms and have annual medical checkups. Have blood levels tested for cholesterol at least once every 4 to 6 years, more often if there is a family history of this condition. High blood pressure reviews are recommended every 2 years or more when needed. Medication may be prescribed to help manage levels if either of these conditions exist.

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