Heart disease is sadly the leading cause of death in the United States. It doesn’t discriminate either – people of all ages and backgrounds can fall prey to this deadly condition. Read on to uncover five ways that you can take charge and keep your heart healthy.
Statistics show that at least two-thirds of American adults are overweight, that’s a hefty figure! Losing just as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can lead to better blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, and cut back the risk of diabetes.
Ease Off The Bad Fats
Eating a diet rich in saturated fats can elevate “bad” LDL cholesterol, leading to plaque buildup in your arteries. You can reduce saturated fat by paying attention to the fats in your diet. Replace butter with olive and canola oils, which contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats; pick leaner meats, poultry, fish and beans, choose non-fat or low-fat milk and yogurt in place of whole-milk versions. Stay as far away as you can from trans fats, and eliminate foods that contain “hydrogenated oil” or “partially hydrogenated oil.” Think packaged snacks, crackers, baked goods and margarine. Take the time to read the packaging on your food labels as well as the ingredient lists in pre-packed food.
Get Your Fiber
A diet high in fiber has been linked to lower risk of heart disease. Aim to eat at least 25 grams a day – most Americans only get around 14 grams a day. The fiber found in oats, beans and fruits such as oranges are all high in soluble fiber to help reduce bad cholesterol. Include whole grains like brown rice and whole-wheat pasta to boost your daily intake of total fiber.
Research suggests that eating omega-3 fats may reduce your risk of heart disease by 30 percent. Try fish like salmon, herring and sardines that not only lower triglycerides and blood pressure; but they also can help to boost immunity and prevent irregular heart rhythms. According to the mayo clinic, eating between one to two servings of fish a week could lower your risk of dying of a heart attack by a third, or even more. Not the biggest fish lover? Try fish-oil supplements.
Get Your Heart Pumping
A regular exercise routine will work wonders for your heart health, but you can benefit from even the most basic of exercises such as brisk walking to keep your heart strong and healthy. Incorporate 30 minutes of exercise everyday. Find something that you love to do, and try and make it as routine as possible.
The information contained within is not meant to diagnose or treat any disease. Please consult with your doctor before embarking on any changes to your routine.
Image Credit: Heart by Dorota. Used under a creative commons license.
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