How to Prevent Heart Disease
Keep your heart healthy every day
A sensible diet and regular exercise are the best things you can do to take good care of your heart. Considering the serious consequences of heart disease, this is good news, because with just a few wise lifestyle choices, you can maintain or lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and weight, three important factors of overall heart health.
If you want to stay healthy and mobile as you age, being active is an important tool for controlling your weight and blood pressure. But getting fit and exercising on a regular basis can also help lower cholesterol. Studies have shown that physical activity promotes the effect of certain enzymes transporting LDL cholesterol to the liver for digestion.
The key to an active lifestyle is to find activities you love doing, because joy lasts a lot longer than willpower. How about these:
- Circuit training
- Frisbee golf
- Belly dance
- Charity walks (and training for them)
Talk to your doctor if you haven't been very active in a while, just to make sure you are good to go.
While regular cardio exercise is an important building block for hearth health, new studies suggest that you need to be more active all day long in order to reap the full benefits of cardiovascular fitness. Walking the kids to school (or getting the dog they want), taking the stairs at work or riding your bike to the neighborhood store are great ways to bring more physical activity into your life.
A heart-healthy diet should contain a wide variety of vegetables and fruit, whole grains and low-fat dairy. You should limit your consumption of refined sugar as well as saturated and trans fats, because they will raise your LDL. It is important to add heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids to your meals. These healthy fats are in foods such as salmon or other fatty fish, avocados and olive oil.
Here are five excellent foods for your heart health:
- Walnuts – rich in monounsaturated fats, which lower LDL and raise HDL
- Chickpeas – a great source of soluble fiber, which helps lower LDL
- Oatmeal – half a cup contains a good amount of beta-glucan, a fiber that lowers LDL
- Dark chocolate – with at least 60-70% cocoa contains polyphenol, a flavonoid that can help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system
- Potatoes – a great source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure