Heart disease is influenced by genetics and lifestyle, including diet and exercise.
Diet plays a crucial role in heart health. High sodium intake raises blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. On the other hand, reducing sodium lowers blood pressure. Saturated and trans fats increase bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, while a diet low in these fats and high in unsaturated fats lowers LDL cholesterol.
Maintaining a healthy weight is vital, as obesity increases heart disease risk.
How can you reduce heart disease risk?
To reduce heart disease risk, opt for lean protein sources like fish, chicken, and beans. These foods are low in saturated fat and calories, helping maintain a healthy weight.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them a healthy choice. Instead of calorie-dense desserts, choose fruits.
Healthy fats found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Limit saturated and trans fats found in processed foods like fried foods and pastries. Limit sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams or less and stay hydrated with eight glasses of water daily.
How much exercise do you need?
Exercise is crucial for a healthy heart.
It reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and chronic conditions. Exercise promotes smooth blood flow, preventing plaque buildup and reducing heart attack and stroke risk. It also lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, and enhances blood sugar control. Regular exercise aids weight management, a major heart disease risk factor. It also reduces the risk of stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Various exercises benefit heart health more than others.
Walking is a great starting point, and running provides more intensity. Biking is low-impact and swimming improves cardiovascular fitness and flexibility. Dancing improves coordination and balance. Find an enjoyable activity and consult a doctor to create a personalized plan.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. Combining moderate and high-intensity activity is also beneficial.
Muscle-strengthening exercises should target major muscle groups at least twice a week.