It’s easy to see why heart health is a pressing concern. One in three adults live with one or more types of cardiovascular disease, according a review published in the medical journal Circulation.
Over time, changes in the heart and blood vessels can lead to a host of devastating problems, including heart attack, heart failure and stroke. On top of that, lifestyle factors, such as poor diet and a lack of physical activity, lead to one in five deaths in the U.S., according to a study published in 2011 in the Journal of Public Health.
The good news is as the weeks and months pass, making healthy choices do pay off and make meaningful shifts in your health profile.
Turning the following choices into habits is well worth the time and effort:
1. Reach for whole foods
Diets abound, but the classic Mediterranean-based diet always comes up as a winner for heart health. It’s simple to follow because it’s made up of whole, healthy foods, like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, olive oil and fish.
2. Get up and move more often
The Surgeon General says 2.5 hours of moderate intensity exercise each week promotes good heart
3. Seek the company of others
This may not come up at the doctor’s office, but the time we spend with friends and family does reward us with better heart health.
4. De-stress and decompress
If you constantly feel the effects of stress in your body, it may be time to take steps to reverse that. Scientists haven’t found definitive proof, but they believe stress could trigger inflammation, a precursor to heart
disease. So go ahead, and seek some joy: Laughter releases “good” HDL cholesterol.
5. Know your risks
Visit your doctor regularly to have your blood sugar, blood pressure, weight and cholesterol checked.
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