The number one cause of death among women and men, heart disease claims approximately one million lives per year. While the statistics are eye-opening, the good news is that simple lifestyle changes can help you avoid, or even slow down, heart-related problems.
Making positive changes in one of the following seven areas can have one of the biggest impacts on your heart health. They include: losing weight/maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy, staying active, managing blood pressure, reducing blood sugar, quitting smoking and controlling cholesterol.
What is Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is also called hardening of the arteries. When the lining inside an artery is damaged, fat and plaque build-up. This causes the artery walls to thicken, and the blood vessel narrows or sometimes gets blocked.
A coronary artery disease is a form of atherosclerosis. It’s when the arteries that supply blood to the heart narrow, which can lower the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart, especially when your heart beats faster, like during exercise. Extra strain on the heart may result in chest pain (called angina) and other symptoms.
What dietary changes can I make to reduce my heart disease risk?
- Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.
- Cut trans fats from your diet. Swap saturated fats for unsaturated ones.
- Eat lean sources of protein, such as chicken, fish, and soy.
- Avoid red meat, as this tends to be high in fat and cholesterol.
- Eat complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain bread, rice, and pasta and limit simple carbohydrates such as regular soda, sugar, and sweets.
- Cut down on salt.
- Exercise regularly.
What's the link between smoking and heart disease?
- Less oxygen to the heart
- Higher blood pressure and heart rate
- More blood clotting
- Damage to cells that line coronary arteries and other blood vessels
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