How to Prevent Heart Disease: Top 10 TipsIn developed countries, heart disease is the leading cause of death. But, it is also preventable. In reality, many of the factors that contribute to heart disease are based on lifestyle. Indeed, avoiding life threatening cardiovascular conditions is very much up to you!
Here are 10 ways to help prevent heart disease:
- Maintain a Healthy Weight—Physical activity and eating well will help you achieve this goal. Nonetheless, you should never be pre-occupied with weight. Instead, if you focus on living a healthy lifestyle, your weight will, in consequence, be healthy too.
- Physical Activity—Exercise trains your heart to efficiently pump blood throughout your body. It is analogous to using your car—you should drive it regularly so it does not collect rust. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada advises approximately thirty minutes of exercise most days of the week.
- Reduce Your Fat Intake—Only 20 to 35 per cent of your daily calories should come from fat. When you consume fats, be sure to select healthy options. Avoid or limit saturated fats, like those found in red meat, and replace them with healthy fats, like nuts and vegetable oils.
- Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption—The Heart and Stroke Foundation advises the following: If you are a woman, do not consume more than two drinks a day (weekly maximum of ten). If you are a man, do not have more than three drinks daily (weekly maximum of 15). Check out the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s page about alcohol consumption for more information.
- Stress Reduction—Too much stress is not healthy! Enjoying time to yourself and ensuring that your life is filled with friendship, humour, and fun can make it less stressful. Talk to people about your feelings, try stress-reducing activities such as yoga, or experiment with other ways to manage your stress that work for you.
- Don’t Smoke—This tip speaks for itself. But, you should also avoid second-hand smoke wherever possible. Because second-hand smoke is unfiltered, it can be more dangerous than actually smoking.
- Sugar Intake—You should strive to consume healthy sugar, thereby avoiding its artificial form. These dangerous types of sugar are not only found in their most commonly cited forms (i.e. desserts). Sauces and condiments like ketchup and many kinds of salad dressing, and processed bread are major sugar culprits. You can also have too much fruit. For example, grapes, while healthy, have a lot of sugar. Though a small bowl of grapes is healthy, they are not something you would want to snack on all day. Lastly, juice, even if freshly squeezed, has a great deal of sugar. Watch how many oranges go into the orange juice! And, you should note that when you drink juice, you lose a lot of the nutritional benefits of eating the entire piece of fruit (i.e. fiber).
- Eat Fruits and Vegetables—Canada's Food Guide calls for about eight to 10 servings per day.
- Yearly Check-Up—Simply put, a yearly check up is a great way to identify any health problems that you may have.
- Blood Pressure Checks—Be sure to check your blood pressure regularly. You can do so at your yearly check-up or by purchasing a blood-pressure monitor.
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How do you try to prevent heart disease? What tips do you have for others? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.