By followinga heart-healthy lifestyle, you can prevent the risk of heart disease. Use these five medication-free strategies to help lower your odds.
1. Don’t smoke
Known as one of the highest risk factors of developing heart disease, smoking can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack. No amount of smoking is safe.
2. Exercise regularly
Daily exercise can reduce your risk of this fatal disease. When you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, the benefits will be greater. Try getting at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week.
3. Get regular health screenings
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels. But if you haven’t been tested, you won’t know if you have these conditions or not. Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are and whether or not you need to take action.
4. Eat a heart-healthy diet
Following a healthy eating plan can help protect your heart. This means eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. Some examples can be fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. It’s also important to limit unhealthy fats.
5. Maintain a healthy weight
When you find yourself putting on weight in adulthood it can mostly be fat rather than muscle. This excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. To check if your weight is healthy, calculate your body mass index (BMI). This considers your height and weight in determining whether or not you have an unhealthy percentage of body fat.