Heart disease and stroke share many of the same causes, including high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, diabetes, lack of exercise, poor diet and high cholesterol.
But turning these unlucky risk factors around with these 7 lifesaving habits can reduce your risk by 80% — and that’s a win you can take to the bank…
1 – Get Active
Increasing physical exercises is the first step because it can reduce blood sugar, lower cholesterol, lower weight and makes you feel great! You can begin by taking walks, parking further form the store and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
The AHA recommends the following programs:
1) Moderate-to-high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity, at least two days per week.
2) 150 minutes per week total of moderate-intensity exercise (30 mins a day, 5 days a week);
3) OR 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week (25 minutes, 3 days per week).
Examples of moderate intensity activity include:
Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking)
Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour
Vigorous activity would include something like:
Race walking, jogging, or running
Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack
2 – Balance Your Cholesterol
While statin drugs are the mainstay of modern medicine for lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, they may be doing more harm than good. That’s why I believe when it comes to balancing cholesterol, natural solutions are the most gentle and are effective.
If your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol is too high it may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. You need to keep the LDL in check and increase the HLD (“good”) cholesterol, which helps shuttle the bad out of your body.
3 – Control Your Blood Pressure
Keeping an eye on blood pressure is key to preventing it from getting too high and being a risk factor in heart disease and stroke. Again, exercise and diet are your friends here. Get up and move more to reduce HBP and lose weight. You can also limit your alcohol consumption and eat a heart-healthy diet. You might consider these 5 supplements for healthy blood pressure, start drinking beet juice and be sure to eat these 20 foods for a strong heart.
4 – Eat Better
Along with exercise, diet is a pillar of any wellness program and certainly has direct effects on many facets of the causes and prevention of heart disease and stroke. This is often difficult for people to change because we are creatures of habit. But making a change to a heart healthy diet is essential.
East more fresh fruit and vegetables.
Choose lean proteins over fatty meats.
Eat more whole grains and less processed ones.
Avoid added salts, fats and sugars.
Eat more wild Alaskan salmon.
Limit your intake of saturated fat and full-fat dairy and avoid trans fats (found mostly in processed, packaged foods).
5 – Lose Weight
Losing weight is important for controlling diabetes and risk of stroke and heart attack. With heart disease being the No. 1 killer, it’s no surprise that 70% of Americas are overweight or obese. The AHA recommends losing 2 pounds a month to total 24 pounds per year to get you there safely and avoid the rebound weight gain of many fad diets.
Increasing exercise, making healthier eating choices, and increasing fiber intake will all help you lose weight. But also consider portion control. Researchers at Cornell University found that junk food is not the cause of obesity in America. In fact, it is simply our lack of portion control; that is, the vast quantity of food we eat daily.
6 – Reduce Blood Sugar
Dropping your blood sugar is essential to reducing your risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Not only that, but elevated blood sugar can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke by 4 times! Exercise and diet are the key to reducing blood sugar. Click here for more tips on naturally lowering your blood sugar.
7 – Stop Smoking
Smoking causes one in five deaths and these are all preventable by quitting. Quitting smoking can help prevent heart disease, stroke, cancer and lung disease. There are several methods to help you quit, and this Free Guide can help you!