8 Ways To Prevent Heart Disease

Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, but the good news is that there are measures you can take for heart disease prevention, reducing your risk of heart-related health issues, and improving your overall health. By making simple lifestyle changes and adopting heart-healthy habits, you can protect your heart and live a healthier life. In this blog post, we will explore eight measures that can help you reduce the risk of heart disease.

1. Eat more whole foods

Adopt a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Limit your intake of saturated fats, high-sodium foods, refined carbohydrates, added sugars, and highly processed foods. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables helps in increased intake of fiber which is known to reduce the occurrence of heart disease. Adding oily fish, especially those rich in omega-3 fats like salmon, can also help improve heart health.

Pick more whole foods.

2. Improve cholesterol levels

High cholesterol levels increase the risk of clogged arteries thereby increasing the risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol should be less than 130 mg/dL, and HDL (“good”) cholesterol should be at least 50 mg/dL for women and 40 mg/dL for men. Diet and exercise play an important role in helping manage cholesterol levels.

3. Watch out for high blood pressure

High blood pressure is the most common heart disease risk factor. Know your blood pressure and keep it under control. Lifestyle changes; including eating healthy, exercising, and avoiding too much salt can help prevent high blood pressure.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps in controlling cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

3. Prevent and control diabetes

People who have diabetes are at a greater risk of developing heart disease and stroke. High blood sugar levels damage the arteries and blood vessels increasing the risk. It is important to keep the blood sugar in check through diet, exercise, and medications if you have diabetes. Prediabetes can be reversed if taken care of.

4. Get active

Being active can protect against heart diseases as exercising helps the heart to work efficiently, reducing blood pressure and stress. Exercising also helps in maintaining a healthy weight which significantly protects against various chronic diseases. 30 minutes of activity at least 3-4 times a week is a good aim.

Pick an activity you love and get active, like Melissa, Emily, Cliff and Henry at the Food Bank with their bicycles.

6. Moderate alcohol use

Increased intake of alcohol can increase the risk of many cancers as well as raise your blood pressure. Alcohol adds extra calories to your intake, making it difficult for you to lose weight and in turn increase your risk of heart disease. If you do drink, limit your alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one for women.

7. Manage your stress

Stress has been proven to increase the risk of heart disease as it increases your blood pressure. Extreme stress or depression can increase your risk for a heart attack. Easy lifestyle changes like exercising, a healthy diet, music, and meditation can help but if you feel you are too stressed or depressed it is best to seek professional help.

Choose something that helps you relieve stress and brings you joy. For some, it can be volunteering. Here you can see volunteers gleaning as a part of GleanSLO Program at the Talley Farms.

8. Quit smoking

Cigarette smoking greatly increases one’s chances of heart attack and stroke. Every cigarette you smoke does irreversible damage to the heart. If you smoke, quitting can help undo the damage to some extent and lower the risk of heart disease. Talk to your physician to find out about ways and best methods for you to quit.

Conclusion

Reducing the risk of heart disease and improving overall health requires a commitment to making positive lifestyle changes. By adopting a diet rich in whole foods, improving cholesterol levels, managing blood pressure and diabetes, staying physically active, moderating alcohol consumption, managing stress, and quitting smoking, you can protect your heart and live a healthier life. Take control of your heart health today and start implementing these measures to reduce the risk of heart disease.

– By Sharmin Sampat, MS, dietetic intern, California Polytechnic State University