What’s the number one cause of death in the U.S.? How about in the world? If you said heart disease, you’re right. In 2015, it was responsible for 8.76 million deaths across the globe. But the real tragedy is how often it’s preventable. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself against heart disease.
- Eat Healthy. There are a number of foods that are good for your heart, including fish, nuts, berries and other fruits, and greens such as broccoli, asparagus, and spinach. Even red wine, in moderation, has been shown to help prevent heart disease. On the other hand, a lot of processed foods, fried foods, and foods that are high in salt and cholesterol, can cause heart problems. By planning your meals carefully, making healthier foods staples of your diet while enjoying unhealthy ones only occasionally, you can reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure, keep your blood sugar under control, and ultimately promote heart health.
- Exercise. Regular exercise will keep both your body and mind healthy in a number of different ways. One of the most important is by improving heart health. And the good news is, it doesn’t even matter very much what kind of exercise you do. Just about any kind of regular physical activity will keep you healthier and help prevent heart disease. So choose an activity that you enjoy. This will make it easier to develop a routine and stick to it. Walk to the grocery store, or go for a hike. Go jogging. If you have a swimming pool or access to a nearby public one, take up swimming. Maybe even join a dance class, or a yoga class, or a martial arts class. You can switch up your activities, too, doing different things on different days. Just make sure you’re getting some form of exercise every day.
- Quit Smoking. Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, but the most common diseases associated with it are things like lung cancer and emphysema. However, there are a number of other health problems that it can cause, including heart attacks. Smoking is like a game of Russian roulette, except each chamber of the gun has a different disease or health issue in it. The longer you play, the more problems you’re likely to have. Quit as soon as you can, to protect your heart, along with the rest of your body.
- Deal with Stress. One major factor in heart disease is elevated stress levels. Stress can lead to a number of factors which can damage your heart, including high blood pressure. Therefore, it’s important to get stress under control. Unfortunately, many of the ways people choose to distress are also unhealthy and detrimental to heart health, such as smoking, drinking, binging on fatty foods, and more. It’s important to find safer, healthier ways to manage your stress levels. Exercise can be helpful in that regard. You might also consider getting a pet, which can calm you down when you’re feeling anxious. Talking to friends and being social can help as well. If the problems continue, you may even look into therapy. Managing your stress is one of the most important factors in staying healthy.
These are just a few of the things you can do to help prevent heart disease. The most important thing you can do, though, is to talk to your doctor. They can monitor and control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other levels that can serve as warning signs of heart problems. They can recommend an exercise routine, foods that can help, and other lifestyle changes that specifically fit your health history. With a little work, a little help, and a little research, you can hopefully live a long, active, heart-healthy life for years to come.