Don’t go breakin’ your heart. Heart disease accounts for a whopping 30% of global deaths and remains the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American College of Cardiology. For those of us who wish for a long, healthy life (where’s the genie at?!), this probably spells out doom—but, there is a silver lining: avoiding becoming a part of these fatal statistics can be as easy as taking on a few healthy habits! According to the American Heart Association, revamping your diet and lifestyle is the best way to fight cardiovascular disease. If you’re unsure of how to start, begin by adapting this handful of habits from Eat This, Not That! so that you can avoid these scary 20 Warning Signs Your Heart Sends You in the future!
Fill Up On Fiber
Fiber doesn’t only work wonders for our digestive health, it’s also magical for your heart. How so? According to the American Heart Association, this star macro often found in healthy whole grains helps the body fend off high cholesterol levels, heart disease, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. In fact, a 2013 study by the University of Leeds discovered that the risk of cardiovascular disease minimized dramatically for every seven grams of fiber consumed. That should encourage you to load up on antioxidant-rich sweet potatoes, organic edamame beans, and plenty of these 30 Best Fiber Foods.
Add Healthy Fats
A study published by the British Medical Journal discovered that
replacing saturated fats with healthy polyunsaturated fats, whole grains, and plant-based proteins can lower the risk for heart disease. Grilling wild salmon for dinner or brown bagging some omega-3-rich walnuts are delicious ways to fight those heart-offenders. Need some science-backed proof? A study published in BioMed Central found that munching on a handful of nuts can slash the risk for coronary heart disease by nearly 30 percent!
Get It Pumping
“Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels,” explains Deborah Rohm Young, Ph.D., director of behavioral research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena and chair of the scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. You don’t need to sign up for the next 10k or join the swim team to have stellar heart health—just a half hour of daily moderate intensity exercise can improve your ticker’s lifespan. If you’re already climbing the stairs to the office and squeezing workouts into your busy schedule, make sure you’re bypassing these 7 Fitness Mistakes That Prevent Weight Loss.
While more research is needed to determine the link between stress and heart disease, getting caught in one too many sticky situations can leave you prone to the silent killer. “When stress is excessive, it can contribute to everything from high blood pressure, also called hypertension, to asthma to ulcers to irritable bowel syndrome,” explains Ernesto L. Schiffrin, M.D., Ph.D., physician-in-chief at Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital, to the AHA. So instead of cooking up a pot of mac and cheese to beat the blues, try some of these 20 Ways To Strip Away Stress for a smilier, slimmer you.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, smoking cigarettes is the cause of about one in every five yearly deaths in the U.S. and is the main preventable cause of death as well as illness in the nation. Just a few puffs can cause plaque in your arteries to develop, which then hardens and limits blood flow to the heart and other organs. Even if you’re not directly taking a puff, second hand smoking isn’t any better than lighting one up, as it can damage heart tissues, lower good cholesterol, and raise blood pressure.