More people die of heart disease in the United States than any other medical condition, including cancer. Last year alone 610,000 people died of heart disease – that’s one in every four deaths. An epidemic of seismic proportion, you may think that succumbing to heart disease is inevitable – but it’s not. It is possible to stave off the effects of heart disease by following these three major tips:
#1 Eat a Healthy Diet
You can’t say too much about the importance of eating a healthy diet when it comes to protecting your heart. This does not mean giving up all the foods you love. It does require learning how to eat them in moderation. There is no need to give up meat or even sweet treats. The key to maintaining a heart-healthy diet is to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables than anything else; make your plate look like a rainbow of colors at each meal; avoid cholesterol ridden foods as much as possible, and stay away from saturated fats.
Eating well will not only keep your cholesterol under control, but it will keep your glucose levels stable and your weight within normal ranges: these are all important factors in staying heart healthy.
#2 Exercise Regularly
Your body needs physical activity in order to stay strong and healthy. Sit around too much and all of your muscles are going to atrophy – including your body’s most important muscle: the heart. There’s no need to hit the gym for hours on end pushing your body beyond its limits. A brisk 30-minute walk every morning will do. Exercise does more than strengthen your muscles, it also helps to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, stabilize sugar levels, and boost the immune system. Plus, it is a fabulous way to remain focused on your sobriety.
#3 Lay Off Those Vices
You’ve worked hard to stay sober, but maybe you have a few extra vices that could be hurting your health. Enjoy a cigarette after work? Or maybe your secret indulgence is ice cream and chocolate for a late night snack. All of these vices can – and will – put you at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Smoking may be justs another addiction that needs to be faced, and while you do not need to completely give up those sugary snacks, just be sure that they are special treats, not daily ones.
Too many people die every year from heart disease. Don’t let yourself become one of those statistics. Follow the simple tips above to keep your heart healthy and strong for years to come.