Did you know that by making simple lifestyle changes you can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 80 percent? The fact is, you're never too young to start taking care of your heart. Preventing heart disease means making healthy food choices and getting enough exercise. However, you don't need to make elaborate changes. There are plenty of simple steps that you can take at any age to reduce your risk of heart attack.
You don't have to go to the gym every day in order to keep your heart healthy, but you do need to exercise. In fact, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, people who participate in as little as 60 minutes of aerobic activity per week gain health benefits from the exercise. Obviously, the more you exercise, the healthier you'll become. But, just by taking a 10-minute walk after dinner, you reduce your risk of heart disease.
Cardiologists often provide heart attack survivors with a detailed heart-healthy diet, but you don't have to have experienced a heart attack to start eating healthier. A few good eating tips to follow include:
- Choose high-fiber foods, such as foods made with whole grain, fruits, and vegetables.
- Avoid foods that contain a lot of saturated or trans fat, including baked goods, fried and processed foods, and excessive amounts of red meat.
- Avoid foods that contain a lot of sugar. A diet that is low in sugar helps stabilize your blood sugar levels to prevent diabetes and helps you control your weight.
- Avoid consuming salt because it raises your blood pressure.
Take Additional Steps
There are several other factors in your life that put you at a higher risk for heart disease, including smoking and stress. So, take the time to quit smoking, if needed, and learn how to manage stress. You should also try your best to maintain a healthy weight. Losing extra weight lowers your blood pressure and ensures that your heart isn't working too hard.
Making changes to your lifestyle isn't always easy, but if you want to lower your risk of heart disease, chances are, you need to make some changes. Keep in mind, you don't become used to change overnight. So, start by making small changes first. If you get off track, don't worry. It doesn't mean that you failed. It just means that you need to refocus. And, if you're struggling to make healthy choices, talk to your doctor or cardiologist to find out how you can make the transition to a healthy lifestyle simple. One company that may be able to help is ICE, Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence.