Cardiac disease remains one of the top killers of adults (both men and women) here in America. However, there are simple changes that can be made every day that reduce the risk of becoming a victim of this condition. Ten of them are discussed below.
Eat More Walnuts
Walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid as well as omega-3 fatty acids, both of which provide powerful protection against inflammatory processes that can damage the heart. They can also improve blood vessel function.
Love the Legumes
Many studies have shown that daily servings of legumes like beans, lentils or chickpeas can bring many cardiac benefits. One study from the Archives of Internal Medicine found that one serving of legumes a day could reduce the systolic blood pressure (the upper number) by 4mm Hg in course of three months.
Enjoy Eggs Again
Many people still believe the myth that eggs will increase the LDL cholesterol which is associated with a greater risk for heart disease. However, one recent Brazillian study found that egg consumption could help clear coronary arteries, likely because they contain Vitamins E, B12 and folate.
Taking slow, deep breaths throughout the day can have an almost instantaneous effect on lowering the blood pressure. One study from Hypertension Research found that if this deep breathing is done regularly, the benefits over time can be significant.
De-stress with Exercise
Work-related stress can be a major risk factor for a heart attack. One way to help modify the effects of job stress is regular exercise. In one Swiss study, men suffering from job burnout were able to reduce the stress-related symptoms by an impressive 57% through regular exercise three times a week.
Get the Flu Shot!
People who get their flu shot regularly have nearly a 50% less chance of a heart attack. While it is not completely clear why, researchers theorize it could be because having the flu can trigger an inflammatory response that can occlude the arteries.
Sleep it Off
Those who get a solid night’s sleep have nearly a 45% less chance of heart attack than those who sleep poorly. Aim for 7 ½ to 8 hours of sleep a night and if having problems, try regular exercise and cutting caffeine from the diet to help.
Avoid Trans Fats
Researchers from Columbia University found that reducing dietary intake of trans fat by even 1% daily can reduce LDL cholesterol and thus lower the risk for developing heart disease. Trans fats are found in a number of processed foods, so reading the label before purchase is a good idea.
Get a Dog
Many studies have shown that dog owners have lower blood pressure and less chance of a heart attack than those who are pet-free. This is likely due to the regular exercise one gets from walking the dog, but also from the stress-relieving benefits of pet ownership.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Breakfast really is the most important meal, and one that is healthy and balanced can stabilize blood sugar, boost energy levels and generally set the body up for the rest of the day. Research from Harvard University found that men who skipped breakfast had a 27% greater chance of coronary heart disease.
These are all simple lifestyle changes to make. However, they can bring with them the big benefits of reducing the chance of cardiac disease and heart attacks.
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