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Saturday, May 17, 2014

5 Most Important Steps You Should Be Taking to Protect Your Heart

Everyone knows that heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. While it's true that many people inherit genetic tendencies that may increase their chance of developing heart problems, that doesn't mean one has to just give up. Fight back! There are so many things you can do every single day that will greatly increase your heart health and help you live a longer, happier life. Here are just 5 that are considered very important by the Mayo Clinic.

#1 - Don't smoke - there is no such thing as social smoking. Smoking is smoking. Stop it! Smoking is the most significant risk factor in developing heart disease.

#2 - Exercise 30 minutes a day - regular exercise helps prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. No, you don't have to join a gym. Do something you love, like gardening, swimming, walking the dog, and just walking. It's all exercise, so choose one that's fun and enjoyable and it won't seem like work.

#3 - Pay attention to nutrition - it cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to eat healthy. What you put in your mouth affects your body, and your heart. It's really easy. Eat more fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, less fat, and fish twice a week. Read food labels for fat content and keep saturated fat to no more than 10 percent of your daily calories. In addition, IF you drink alcohol, 1/2 to one glass a day can actually be beneficial and have a protective effect on your heart. Any more will damage your health.

#4 - Maintain proper body weight - get your BMI (Body Mass Index) checked to make sure your percentage of body fat is in line with your height and weight. A woman who is 5'4", for example, should not weigh more than 146 pounds. Increased fat around the waist area is the most dangerous to the heart.

#5 - Get enough sleep - there is no substitute for a good night's rest every night. It gives the body a chance to rejuvenate. People who don't get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. How much sleep should you get? Seven to nine hours a night is recommended.
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practictioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.