The leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease, with close to one million people dying each year as a result of heart attacks, or other heart related illnesses. Unfortunately, most people don’t know that the majority of heart related deaths are preventable. Here are a few easy tips to follow to make sure you keep your heart as healthy as possible.
One of the easiest ways to prevent heart disease is through your diet. Diets that are high in fat, lead to elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, the two main causes of heart disease. A heart healthy diet is high in fruits, vegetables and fiber, and low in fats, especially saturated fats. A good rule of thumb when eating is to divide your plate into four equal parts. Two of those parts, half of the plate, should be devoted to vegetables. One quarter of the plate should be a high quality protein, such as nuts or legumes, and the final quarter should be a either fish or very lean meat.
Other than diet, the other key to keeping your heart healthy is regular exercise. If you are currently at a healthy weight, most cardiologists agree that thirty minutes of moderate exercise five or more times per week is enough to help maintain cardiovascular health.
If you are currently overweight, a little more exercise is required. In order to lose weight, remember you have to burn more calories than you take in. So, in combination with a healthy diet, exercise sixty minutes per day, five times a week, until you have reached a healthy weight.
Regular exercise and keeping your weight under control helps lower cholesterol, control your blood pressure and limit you risk of diabetes.
Although, this next tip doesn’t apply to everyone, if you currently smoke, the most important tip to help avoid heart disease is to stop smoking as soon as possible. Smoking is the single most dangerous thing you can do to you heart. People who smoke a pack a day are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack than someone who does not smoke.
Make sure you are not another American that falls victim to a heart related death. Eat a heart healthy diet, exercise regularly and keep your weight under control to keep you heart as healthy as possible.