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Tips for Preventing Heart Disease

When it comes to heart disease factors such as age and family history often play a role in your chances, but simple things like diet and lifestyle changes can improve and lower your risks as much as 80 percent.

Being overweight is often a huge strain on your heart and raises blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, which increases the risk of heart disease, and even diabetes. Our bodies are made up a balance of water, fat, protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins/minerals. Too much fat means that these other items are off balance, which can result in even more issues.

Along with weight, physical inactivity can kill you. Blood clots, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and other heart problems often are related to lack of physical activity. By becoming more active individuals can lower blood pressure and boost good levels of cholesterol. For women being physically active can reduce chances of stroke by 25% and heart disease by 30-40%.

The American Heart Association (AHA) outlines four steps to becoming a better you and to help reduce your risk of not only heart disease but many other harmful diseases (e.g. brain, diabetes, liver).

1) Eat Smart – When we hear eat smart it often brings up images of giving up all the foods you love. But it isn’t! It just means making smarter choices and smarter substitutions for recipes.
2) Add Color – By eating the rainbow in your diet, you are often adding important nutrients needed to maintain a healthy body and weight. Bringing in flavor to your diet through these veggies and fruits doesn’t have to be all at once but in moderation or by substituting ingredients.
3) Move More – Getting into better shape is as easy as adding 22 minutes of activity to each day. Taking a walk or taking the stairs are easy ways to start increasing activity. Start slow and then increase your activity.
4) Be Well – Other than eating right and being active, it is important to have enough sleep, practice mindfulness, manage your stress levels, and much more. By making self-care a priority you can increase your overall well-being.

To learn more about the AHA’s program and your chances of heart disease join the movement and visit healthyforgood.heart.org

Sources: GoRedForWomen.org, Heart.org