Heart disease, also called coronary heart disease, is the
number one killer of Americans. It causes half a
sudden deaths every year.
Many people can prevent heart disease or control
stage heart disease by making lifestyle changes.
some ways you can decrease your risk:
Time out. Minimize stress, a risk factor for heart
Try meditation or visualization or yoga. Prayer may
help. Take brisk walks with a friend; your
add extra stress relief.
Rein in your rage. Don't get mad -- it's bad for
heart. A study of nearly 13,000 people found that
were quick to anger were almost three times more
have heart attacks than their cooler-headed peers.
Stay trim. Being even slightly overweight can
blood pressure and put you at greater risk for
disease. Follow a heart-smart diet and make
No ifs, ands, or butts. According to the American
Association, you can cut your risk of death related
heart disease by 50 percent by kicking the smoking
After three smoke-free years, your risk of heart
the same as that of a lifelong nonsmoker.
Getting away is good for your heart. Researchers
men between age 35 and 57 who took a yearly
one-third less likely to die from heart disease
Be flexible. Flexibility exercises like yoga not
keep your joints limber but also help cut the
stress hormones that can contribute to heart
Think international. People who eat a traditional
Mediterranean or Asian diet appear to have lower
heart disease than those who eat a typical American
Incorporate elements of these diets into your
Eat heart-smart foods. Choose foods that can reduce
cholesterol and improve heart health, such as
(apples, avocados, dried fruits, grapefruit,
strawberries), vegetables (broccoli, carrots, corn,
beans, onions), seafood (clams, mussels, oysters),
containing omega-3 fatty acids (salmon and
nuts, and whole-grain breads and cereals.
Cut the fat. To keep your cholesterol level down,
amount of fat you eat, especially saturated fat.
fat intake should be no more than 30 percent of
calories. Focus on low-fat alternatives to red
as fish or skinless chicken or turkey. Eating fish
times a week can cut your risk of heart attack by
as half. Lower your intake of dairy fats by
low-fat or skim varieties. Or try soy milk -- soy
can lower cholesterol.
Spice it up. If you have high blood pressure, cut
In fact, researchers now think that
people whose blood pressure is within normal range
cut back on sodium. Avoid processed foods, which
lot of sodium, and ease up on salt at mealtime. But
settle for bland fare. Add flavor with salsa,
peppers, or garlic. Eating one to three cloves of
day has been shown to reduce blood pressure and
Add rough stuff. Soluble fiber, plentiful in fresh
vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, prevents
buildup in your arteries. Studies show that eating
more servings of fruits and vegetables daily can
risk of heart attack and stroke by 25 percent or
one study, eating cooked dried bes daily
cholesterol by 20 percent in just three weeks.
research showed that a diet high in whole grains
woman's risk of dying from heart disease by up to
percent. And dozens of studies confirm that eating
a cholesterol-lowering effect.
Seeing red. Drinking alcohol in moderation raises
or "good," cholesterol and "thins" the blood,
likelihood of clots that can cause heart attack and
Red wine offers additional benefits. Its dark
rich in bioflavonoids that prevent the oxidation of
or "bad," cholesterol, making it less likely to
artery walls. Research showed that people who drank
ounce glasses of red wine a day were 40 percent
to have a heart attack than those who didn't
don't overdo it -- too much alcohol raises your
triglyceride level. And if you have an alcohol
harm far outweighs any potential benefit. Instead
drinking alcohol, you can get bioflavonoids from
green tea, onions, kale, and apples.
Work your heart. The best preventive medicine for
heart is aerobic exercise. It reduces high blood
and atherosclerosis by widening the blood vessels.
raises "good" cholesterol levels. Choose an
works the large muscles of your legs and buttocks
brisk walking or bicycling), and strive to reach
target heart rate for at least 15 to 20 minutes,
four times a week.