1) Stop smoking: If you smoke, quit. Smokers have a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks or strokes. Reach out to ReadySet Quit Tobacco for help!
2) Choose good nutrition: a healthy diet is one of the best ways to fight heart disease. Choose a diet that emphasizes intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, non-tropical vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats. To maintain a healthy weight, coordinate your diet with your physical activity level so you’re using up as many calories as you take in. How to eat healthy without dieting.
3) Lower high blood pressure: it’s a major risk factor for stroke. Shake the salt habit, take your medications as recommended by your doctor and get moving. An optimal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mmHg.
4) Be physically active every day: research has shown that 3-4 sessions per week, lasting on average 40 minutes per session, and involving moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity can help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and keep your weight at a healthy level. Remember something IS better than nothing. Even 10 minutes at a time can offer some health benefits!
5) Aim for a healthy weight: obesity places you at risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Your Body Mass Index (BMI) can help tell you if your weight is healthy. Learn 5 goals to losing weight.
6) Manage diabetes: heart disease and diabetes are related! Learn more here.
7) Reduce stress: studies have shown that there is a relationship between coronary heart disease risk and stress that can impact the risk factors for heart disease and stroke. An example: people under stress may overeat, start smoking, or smoke more than they otherwise would. Get stress management tips and tools.
8) Limit alcohol: drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure, increase cardiomyopathy, stroke, cancer, and other diseases. There are recommendations set forth by the American Heart Association here. (source: heart.org)