Fact: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the US. While other factors such as genetics may make you more prone to heart disease, the best way to avoid heart problems is to take care of your heart health. Doctors swear that a wise choice now can lead to better heart health along the way.
“The lifestyle is great for your heart health,” Holly S. Andersen, MD, an existing cardiologist and associate professor of clinical medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center, tells Health. “It’s more important than genetics – about 80% of heart disease is preventable.”
Jennifer Haythe, MD, co-director of the Women’s Center for Cardiovascular Health at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and cardiologist at New York-Presbyterian / Columbia, agrees. “Most heart diseases are preventable,” he told health officials. “If people take care of their hearts in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, they will not need to see a cardiologist for most of their lives.”
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Quit smoking — and no more ifs, and, or butts
There are many steps you can take to protect your health and blood vessels. Avoiding tobacco is one of the main concerns.
Smoking is one of the most controllable risk factors for heart disease. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, the American Heart Association (AHA) Trusted Source, National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteTrusted Source (NHLBI), and the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source (CDC) all encourage you to quit. It can make a huge difference not only to your heart but also to your whole life.
Focus on the center
That is, focus on yourself. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has linked excess fat to high blood pressure and unhealthy lipid levels. If you have extra fat in the middle of your area, it is time to lose weight. Eating fewer calories and exercising more can make a big difference.
Play between sheets
Or you can play on the sheets! Well, having sex can be good for your heart. Having sex may add more to your life than just happiness. It may also help to lower your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease. A study published in the American Journal of CardiologyTrusted Source shows that a low frequency of sexual activity is associated with higher rates of heart disease.
Take off the scarf
Put your hands to work to help your mind relax. Engaging in activities such as weaving, sewing, and crocheting can help alleviate stress and make your tick more useful. Other relaxing activities, such as working with wood, cooking, or completing jigsaw puzzles, can also help reduce stress days.
Sprinkle your salsa with beans
When paired with low-fat cheeses or fresh vegetables, salsa provides delicious and antioxidant snacks. Consider mixing in a tin of black beans to get more energy-boosting fiber. According to the Mayo Clinic, a diet rich in soluble fiber can help lower your low-density lipoprotein, or “bad cholesterol.” Other rich sources of soluble fiber include oats, barley, apples, pears, and avocados.
Let the music move you
Whether you choose a rumba rhythm or a two-step song, dancing makes for a healthy heart-healthy exercise. Like other forms of aerobic exercise, it raises your heart rate and makes your lungs pump. It also burns up to 200 calories or more per hour reports the Mayo Clinic.
Eat rich food
Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can also help prevent heart disease. Many fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and herring, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Try to eat fish at least twice a week, suggests AHAT Reliable Source. If you are concerned about mercury or other contaminants in fish, you may be pleased to learn that its cardiovascular benefits often outweigh its risks for most people.
Don’t just do LOL on emails or posts on Facebook. Laugh out loud in your daily life. Whether you enjoy watching comedy or comedy with your friends, having a good time may well suit your heart. According to AHATrusted Source, research shows that laughter can reduce stress hormones, reduce inflammation in your arteries, and increase your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HLD), also known as “good cholesterol.”
Yoga can help you improve your balance, flexibility, and strength. It can help you to relax and relieve stress. As if that were not enough, yoga also has the potential to improve heart health. According to a study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative MedicineTrusted Source, yoga demonstrates the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease.