Reduce Your Risk for Heart Disease

By making simple changes to your lifestyle, you can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.  The majority of factors that contribute to heart disease are controllable.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.  To decrease your risk for heart disease, keep these three changes in mind.

Stop smoking

If you stop smoking, your risk of heart attack drops by 50 percent within one year. After five-years, your risk approaches that of a nonsmoker.  

Eat heart-healthy foods

A heart-healthy diet is important in reducing the risk of heart disease.   Try to eat heart healthy foods that have the following 

Omega - 3s
Find in fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines.  Aim for two, 4-ounce portions of these fish per week.  Some plant sources of omega-3s are walnuts, canola oil, soybean oil, flaxseed oil, and ground flaxseed.

Incorporate 20-30 grams of fiber per day into your diet, including 10-25 grams per day coming from soluble fiber (like kidney beans, oatmeal, oranges, oat bran, and broccoli).

Sterols and stanols
Consume 2 grams per day of plant sterols and stanols.  Look for products such as yogurt, margarine or orange juice that are fortified with sterols or stanols.

Soy Protein 
Eat 25 grams per day of soy protein which can be found in soybeans, soy nuts, tofu, soy milk, and soy burgers.

Limit Your Cholesterol
Try to intake less than 200 mg per day.  Choose lean cuts of red meat (like sirloin or ground round), low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and egg whites instead of the yolks.

Limit Your Sodium  
Limit your intake of sodium to less than 2,400 mg per day.  Be sure to check the labels on your food to help you track the amount of sodium you eat throughout the day.

Limit Saturated Fats

Choose unsaturated fats, which are plant-based instead saturated fats.  Some examples of unsaturated fats are nuts, seeds, avocadoes, olive oil and canola oil.  

Avoid Trans Fats

Trans fats are found in processed and fried foods such as store-bought bakery items and french fries.  Also, make sure you avoid food that list ingredients with "partially hydrogenated oils."

Get Moving

Don't forget the importance of aerobic activity like walking, dancing, or biking. Aim for 30 minutes on most days.  Remember to warm-up, stretch, and cool down.  Always consult with your physician before starting an exercise program.

Here are some easy ways to get moving:

  • Try new activities such as walking, biking, dancing, and gardening
  • Try parking further away when you go to the store
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Make multiple trips when doing household tasks like laundry
  • At work get out of your chair every 30 minutes 
  • Try at work walking up and down the hallway 
  • March in place for two minutes


If you want help to get active and fit, try Results Therapy and Fitness, an affiliate of Summit Health.  At Results Fitness and Therapy, we offer different exercise classes daily and personalized training. 





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