Heart disease may run in your family but it doesn't have to run you. There are many ways you can prevent or reduce your risk of heart disease. Don't fall victim and accept your fate that you will likely die of heart disease. Sure, you may not be able to eliminate risk factors such as your age, ethnicity or family history, but you sure have control over some of the others such as a healthy diet, exercise and other healthy lifestyle choices.
Strategize your way to a healthier body and outlook on life. Incorporate some changes in your life to reduce the chances of heart disease taking a foothold in your life. Here are six smart things you can do to live life to the fullest without heart disease staring you boldly in the face:
1. Don't drink excessively –Everything you put in your body works like a domino effect so the more you drink, the more likely it is to impair your judgment as well as cause inflammation in arteries and other body organs including the heart. However, just a drink or two a day can have beneficial properties for the heart, namely red wine, thanks to its antioxidant properties.
2. Quit smoking – Smoking is perhaps one of the most identifiable and quantifiable ways to reduce your heart disease risk. There are almost 5,000 chemicals in the smoke from tobacco and many of them can damage your arteries and heart muscle, leaving your vulnerable to such conditions as atherosclerosis, a narrowing of the arteries. Plus, when you smoke, it robs your blood of necessary oxygen. This means your heart has to pump even harder to push enough blood through the body to provide enough oxygen and nutrients.
3. Get physical – Physical activity is important in several ways. First, it helps you burn calories you consume so as to prevent becoming overweight. Second, it conditions the heart muscle. When a muscle is not used properly, it can wither or atrophy and since the heart is essentially a muscle, you are not doing it any favors by leading a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise will increase blood flow to the heart and in turn, builds heart strength.
4. Avoid obesity – As you grow older, you tend to gain weight, most of it being fat. When this fat accumulates, you put your heart at risk for disease in addition to other conditions that could lead up to heart disease such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. Lowering your weight even by just a few pounds is beneficial. Of course, the best way to lose weight or keep it off is through a good diet and exercise.
5. Eat healthy – Avoid saturated and trans fats as much as possible. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean meats and fish. Choose foods with plenty of fiber as not only is it health but it also fills you up so you do not end up overeating. When you must eat fats, choose those with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats as these have the power to lower your cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants found in these foods are important for overall heart health.
6. Get regular check-ups – You will never know if you have high cholesterol or hypertension, two major contributors to heart disease, unless you go to the doctor regularly for yearly physicals and health screenings. Without these regular check-ups, it can be hard to catch heart disease or any other problem. Without early detection, you cannot treat the problem.