Heart disease is no joke: it’s the leading cause of death for all Americans across nearly all ethnicities.
Unfortunately, many people do not adequately address the number one risk factor for heart disease as well as they should.
Without comprehensive lifestyle changes, many people will not take action until it’s too late: after they’ve had a heart attack.
But heart disease prevention is entirely possible through natural methods.
It just takes a little willpower.
What Is the #1 Risk Factor for Heart Disease?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease causes 25% of deaths in the United States.
What’s the number one risk factor for heart disease? Weight-related conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
In addition to that, several other factors contribute to heart disease including
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Lack of physical activity
- Poor nutrition
It’s important to mention that heart disease is an umbrella term used to describe several heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cardiac arrest, peripheral artery disease, and stroke.
7 Lifestyle Changes and Tips for Heart Disease Prevention
You can prevent heart disease by taking necessary steps to address your diet and lifestyle habits.
It won’t be easy: changing habits you’ve held for years or decades will take strong motivation and determination.
But it is possible – you can do it!
Consider talking to a therapist or seeking cognitive behavioral therapy to help manage your thought process and develop new coping skills.
1. Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health in all respects – especially your cardiovascular health.
Kicking the habit completely is best: even e-cigarettes can contribute to heart disease.
2. Build a Healthy Diet for Heart Disease
It’s extremely important to build a healthy diet for heart disease: avoiding the bad stuff and consuming the good stuff.
Here are the key foods to avoid:
- High fats and salty meats
- High-fat dairy products like cheese
- Fried foods
- Simple carbs like white bread
- Refined sugars
Include these foods in your healthy diet for heart disease:
- Foods with omega-3 fatty acids like fish and olive oil
- Foods with omega-6 fatty acids like safflower oil, nuts, and whole grains
- Vegetables and fruits with high antioxidant levels like dark green veggies and dark berries
- Lots of fiber from whole grains, beans, and (low-sugar) cereals
- Lean protein from beans, soy, chicken, and fish
- Vitamin E from nuts and seeds
As you can see, you don’t need to cut out fat completely – in fact, that’s a big mistake. Instead, you should consume low-cholesterol fats with lots of omega fatty acids.
3. Stop Drinking
Regular drinking is a major contributing risk factor for heart disease.
If you need help kicking the habit, talk to a local counselor or find a support group.
4. Manage Stress and Mental Health
Adapting to stress is extremely important for warding off heart disease.
Think about it: how many times have you felt like you were having a heart attack during a stressful situation?
Develop healthy coping tools for stress through counseling, group therapy, yoga, and deep breathing exercises.
5. Improve Your Sleep Quality
Did you know lack of sleep is a huge contributor to heart disease? It’s true.
Likewise, oversleeping is just as unhealthy.
Find a healthy median: 7 or 8 hours each night.
6. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also wards off weight-related conditions like sleep apnea and diabetes.
7. See Your Doctor on a Regular Basis
Even if you look and feel healthy, your cholesterol levels could still be too high.
See your doctor on a regular basis for blood work and personal tips for heart disease prevention. Always talk to a doctor before beginning any new diet or supplement routine.
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