It’s an unfortunate truth that many people face heart disease. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. But what can you do about it? What things can you incorporate into your diet or daily routine to lower your risk of heart disease? Here are some ways to reduce your risk!
Cut Down On Sugar
Studies have shown that excess sugar consumption can lead to cardiovascular disease. Sugar has been linked to high blood pressure, which is a significant risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), women should aim for no more than six teaspoons of added sugars per day; men shouldn’t consume more than nine. Also, be aware of your intake! Many people are unaware that they’re eating more sugar than expected.
Eat Fewer Trans Fats
Trans fats are another type of fat that can increase your risk for heart disease. According to the AHA, there’s no safe level of trans fats – even a small amount is dangerous. Trans fats are typically in processed foods, such as pastries and doughnuts, or fried foods like french fries. If you choose to eat these foods, be aware that they may contain partially hydrogenated oils, which means they contain some trans-fats. Also, keep an eye on labels – anything with “partially hydrogenated” listed means it has some trans fats in it.
In addition to eating healthier, exercising is one of the best things you can do for your heart health. Excising daily has been shown to improve blood flow, reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol. According to the AHA, you should aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week – that’s just 30 minutes a day! If you’re looking for an even bigger benefit, strive for 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic exercises like running or aerobics classes.
Stress can have a significant impact on your heart health. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), stress is linked with higher blood pressure levels and an increased risk of coronary artery disease. To reduce these effects, try taking time for yourself each day – whether it’s yoga or meditation, find some relaxation techniques that work best for you!
Focus On Fish
To lower your risk of heart disease, try incorporating more fish into your diet. According to the AHA, eating two servings a week (about eight ounces) can reduce your risk by 36%. Some great choices include salmon or mackerel – either fresh or canned. For those who don’t enjoy seafood, there are also omega-enriched eggs available at many grocery stores, which provide similar benefits!
Although some studies show that drinking in moderation may help prevent cardiovascular events, it’s not worth the risk if you don’t drink at all. It’s important to note that even one or two drinks a day can increase your blood pressure and heart rate, putting more strain on your heart. If you do choose to consume alcohol, be sure it’s in moderation – no more than two servings per day for men (about four ounces) and only one serving daily for women (two ounces).
Eat Fruits & Veggies
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been linked with lower rates of cardiovascular disease. Aim for whole fruit over juices whenever possible since they often contain far less sugar! For veggies, try roasting them or cooking them into stews, so they become more flavorful. Also, remember to keep an eye on the number of servings you eat from other food groups since they can add up quickly! The AHA suggests eating eight or more servings each day.
Include Lean Proteins
A healthy, balanced diet should include lean proteins from various sources, including fish and plant-based foods. According to the AHA, choosing beans over beef or chicken can result in consuming less saturated fat. Those who are vegetarian have plenty of options too! Quinoa is a great source of protein while being free from cholesterol & containing very little sodium. If you’re looking for something with more flavor, try textured vegetable protein (TVP), which comes in many forms such as granules or chunks – it’s perfect for making chili!
Smoking has negative effects on your cardiovascular system. It restricts blood flow throughout your body by constricting blood vessels, which over time can lead to a weakening of the heart muscle. There are twelve million smokers in America today, and nearly half will die from smoking-related complications! The AHA recommends quitting as soon as possible since it doubles your chances of living a longer life. If you do smoke, cutting down is an important step that’s easier said than done – try substituting with electronic cigarettes or nicotine gum to get rid of those nasty withdrawal symptoms.
As you can see, there are many ways to reduce your risk of heart disease. Making these changes will not only improve your health, but they’ll make you feel better too! Some people might think that eating healthier isn’t worth all the trouble, but once they start feeling great and having more energy, they realize it was well worth the effort. Remember that these changes take time to implement, but your health will improve over time as you progress towards a healthier lifestyle. It’s never too late to start eating better, so if you aren’t doing everything on this list now, don’t worry – just do what you can! You’ll be amazed at how much good food has to offer when done right!