It can be hard to make changes to your lifestyle, but it is so important. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.
The good news is there’s a lot you can do to lower your risk of heart disease. When you choose healthy behaviors, you can lower your heart disease risk while also preventing other serious chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and some kinds of cancer.
Learn Your Health History
Your family history affects your risk for heart disease. Know your risks and talk to your family and doctor about your health history.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Make healthy food choices to include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Eat less salt, saturated fat, and added sugar. A heart-healthy diet includes foods that are low in saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium (salt).
Heart-healthy items include high-fiber foods (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) and certain fats (like the fats in olive oil and fish).
Move More, Sit Less
Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. If you’re just getting started, take it slow! Try fitting a quick walk into your day. Even 5 minutes has real health benefits — and you can build up to more activity over time.
Choose Your Drinks Wisely
Substitute water for sugary drinks to reduce calories. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation by limiting consumption to no more than 1 drink for women and 2 for men on days that alcohol is consumed. If you are pregnant, don’t drink any alcohol.