The American Heart Association (AHA) states that heredity and lifestyle are keys to heart health. Although heredity cannot be changed, lifestyle can. The AHA suggests the following tips to lower your risk of heart disease:
- Achieve an overall healthy eating pattern. Five servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables; six servings of grain products; fat-free and low-fat dairy products, lean meats; and at least two servings of fish per week.
- Achieve a healthy body weight. Avoid foods that are high in calories and low in nutritional quality; maintain physical activity. However, always check with your physician before beginning any new exercise regimen.
- Achieve a desirable cholesterol level. Limit foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Limit cholesterol to 300 milligrams a day (200 milligrams a day for those with heart disease or high heart disease risk).
- Achieve a desirable blood pressure level. Limit salt intake and alcohol consumption.
Other suggestions for a healthy heart include:
- Not smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke.
- Taking medication to lower cholesterol or blood pressure if prescribed by your doctor.
- Taking time to relax! Anger and hostility are two personality traits that have been linked to heart disease.
Take time to determine the health risks your lifestyle may be having on your heart and talk with your care providers for help with lowering your risk of heart disease.