Heart disease remains the leading cause of death of men and women in the United States. In fact, one in four deaths is the result of heart disease each year. However, there’s good news where heart health is concerned: you have the power to prevent heart disease – and other cardiovascular diseases – by making healthy choices, and taking action.
You’re never too young, or too old for that matter, to focus on heart health. With February being National Heart Month, here are some effective strategies for lowering your risk, and making a difference for yourself and others:
- Follow a healthy eating plan. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium. Balance your diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, legumes and seeds. And limit sugar-sweetened beverages, as well as too much red meat.
- Get physical. If you already follow an exercise plan, great! If not, slowly work your way up to about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, such as brisk walking. Or aim for 75 minutes of a more vigorous workout, like jogging or running.
- Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. While smoking rates have fallen steadily for the past 10 years, cigarette smoke remains one of the main contributors of heart disease. There are lots of resources available to help you or a loved one quit the habit, including this one from the American Cancer Society.
Here’s to your heart, and to your health!