Top 5 Secrets of Heart-Healthy People
As we continue our February series on heart health, today’s blog will focus on what many doctors and medical experts call the absolute best form of medicine: prevention. According to Northwestern Medicine, it’s never too late to start forming heart-healthy habits—even as an adult. Here are five secrets from heart-healthy people that can help protect your heart and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease:
Please consult your health care professional before making any drastic changes to your diet, especially if you suffer with any chronic ailments or have health concerns that involve diet restrictions.
1. Plan your meals
Avoid fad diets, but be conscious of what you eat. Plan to cook a few meals each week and make sure you make enough for lunch-leftovers the next day—you’ll save money and avoid the temptation of fast food. Here’s what the American Heart Association recommends for a heart-healthy diet:
- Fruits and vegetables: At least 4.5 servings a day
- Fish (preferably oily fish): At least two 3.5-ounce servings a week
- Fiber-rich whole grains: At least three 1-ounce-equivalent servings a day
- Sodium: Less than 1,500 mg a day
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: No more than 450 calories (36 ounces) a week
Taking five 30-minute brisk walks per week can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. It lessens your stress, improves cholesterol levels, improves insulin control, and lowers blood pressure—all critical factors in heart health.
3. Measure your BMI
BMI, or body mass index, is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight. A high BMI usually indicates a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. In fact, studies have shown that gaining as little as 11 pounds after the age of 20 triples your likelihood of developing heart disease. Calculate your BMI here.
The only drinking that is good for the heart is in moderation. This equates to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. At this level, alcohol is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, but more than that can lead to a cascade of heart-related problems—high blood pressure, weakened heart muscle, and weight gain.
5. Quit smoking
Tobacco products—especially cigarettes—are the heart’s worst enemy. Experts say that smoking cigarettes accounts for nearly 20% of all heart disease-related deaths. After just one year of being smoke-free, your risk for cardiovascular disease will be cut in half.
Maintaining a healthy heart is a lifelong task. Even if you’ve had a less-than-perfect lifestyle in the past, it’s never too late to pick up a few heart-healthy habits. Keep trying—your heart will thank you!
If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, be sure to take your medications as instructed by your doctor. If you need help affording your medications, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card, request a card be mailed to you, or text CARD to 95577. All brand name and generic medications are eligible for savings with our card–including those for the heart.
Related posts: http://www.watertreehealthcard.com/heart-disease-101/
Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.
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