There are a lot of health risks people face throughout their lifetimes. But heart disease is one of the biggest risks — heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., with about 610,000 people dying from it every year. This is why it’s so important to do whatever you can to lower your risk of heart disease. So let’s take a look at a few steps you can take to lower your risk and take care of your heart.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you want to lower your risk of heart disease, then your weight is a good place to start. Being overweight or obese (which two-thirds of adults in the U.S. are) can drastically increase your risk of heart disease; however, that doesn’t mean you have to be skinny to be healthy. Weight problems are linked to other issues, like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high blood cholesterol, all of which are risk factors of heart disease. So by controlling your weight, you can lower a wide variety of risk factors. Being at a healthy weight will keep your entire body healthy, including your heart. So if you’re not one of the 58 million people who go to the gym every year, now may be a good time to start..
Don’t Smoke (Or Quit)
Chemicals in cigarettes and other forms of tobacco can cause significant damage to the heart and blood vessels. This, in turn, can result in plaque buildup, which can narrow and damage the arteries. The clogging of arteries can escalate quickly and often results in heart disease or heart attacks. Additionally, the carbon monoxide present in cigarette smoke can result in high blood pressure and will force the heart to work harder to get enough oxygen to the other organs. With all of that in mind, it’s clear that smoking can increase the risk of heart disease — so don’t smoke and if you do, you should really consider quitting.
Eat the Right Food
Your diet plays a big role in your overall health, but especially your heart health. This is why you should consider eating a heart-healthy diet. With the right food, your heart can be as healthy as possible, lowering the risk of heart disease. You should aim to include food items like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and lean meats in your diet. When it comes to foods high in fat, you should try to avoid or limit your intake of red meat, deep-fried food, packaged snacks, and things like chips and cookies. And, if you love chocolate, you don’t have to ignore your sweet tooth. Dark chocolate can actually lower your risk of heart disease. Making a few small adjustments to your diet can do wonders for your heart health.
If you want to lower your risk of heart disease, you don’t have to make drastic changes to your lifestyle or go on expensive medication. By following these few simple steps, you can be on your way to having a healthier heart.