Preventing Heart Disease One Step at a Time

Proper nutrition, exercise, and a few lifestyle changes help prevent heart disease and improve quality of life. There are things to do to reduce the risk for stroke, heart disease, and other cardiovascular problems and live a healthy life.

Maintain Stable Blood Sugar Levels

It is important to monitor and reduce blood sugar to prevent spikes and lower the risk for heart disease. Certain foods cause spikes in blood sugar and should be avoided. These include sweet drinks and sweets, white bread, white rice, red meat, and others. Avoid packaged and processed foods because they contain additives, trans fats, and a lot of sugar. You may want to substitute them for low carb foods such as healthy monounsaturated fats, lean protein, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are found in foods such as green leafy vegetables, whole grain breads, pastas, and oatmeal. Products such as lentils, peas, beans, quinoa, brown rice, and oatmeal also contain healthy complex carbohydrates. It is a good idea to check the GI index and avoid foods with a high glycemic index value. There are plenty of foods with a low and moderate GI that are packed with nutrients. You can have vegetables such as green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, and carrots. Other foods to include in your menu are bran buds, sponge cake, pinto beans, butter beans, and chickpeas. Obviously, it is also important to control your cholesterol levels to lower the risk for heart problems. Some foods are best to be avoided, for example, fatty meats such as bologna, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and corned beef. Egg yolks, pastrami, fried chicken, and fries are also high in trans fats and other unhealthy ingredients. Instead choose salads, chicken without skin, and other healthier options.

Lifestyle Changes

While healthy and balanced nutrition helps prevent heart disease, there is more to do. If you smoke (especially if you are a heavy smoker), it is time to quit. Sedentary lifestyle is also associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular problems and heart disease. Many people don’t get any exercise or aerobic activity. Regular exercise and other strengthening activities help maintain a healthier lifestyle. Getting physically active is the way to reduce the risk for stroke, heart problems, and other chronic conditions. It is important to manage your blood pressure as well. In fact, some people have high blood pressure without knowing it and this is a major risk factor. A heart-healthy diet and exercise reduce the risk for hypertension. Drink in moderation and avoid foods that are high in salt. Extra weight is also a risk factor for diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension. Try to shed extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight. Finally, regular health screenings are important and help prevent a number of serious problems. You can also measure your weight and blood pressure at the local pharmacy or at home. These are simple but important steps to prevent chronic disease and stay healthy for longer.

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Tips to reduce the risk for stroke -