12 Steps To Protect Your Heart

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on November 20, 2013 · 0 comments

A healthy lifestyle trumps genes when it comes to reducing your risk for heart disease.

Initiating 12 healthy lifestyle strategies could reduce your risk for heart disease by up to 50%. Maybe you can’t change everything about the way you live, but if you strive for small changes, over time, the results will add up.

1. Eat less saturated fat and trans fat.

2. Eat more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.    

Eat more olive, avocado, walnut, grapeseed, sunflower, safflower, canola, corn and soybean oil.

3. Eat more omega-3 fat.

  • Eat fish often – at least twice a week.
  • Eat omega-3 rich foods, including flaxseed, walnuts, purslane, soy, and  pumpkin seeds.

4. Eat more nuts and seeds.

5. Eat more whole grains and more fiber and less sugar and refined


6. Eat more veggies and fruits.

  • There is no denying it, fruit and vegetables (including beans) are nature’s superfoods – aim for at least 5 servings a day.
  • For each additional serving you eat daily, you decrease your risk for heart disease by 4%.

7. Think outside the box when it comes to protein.

  • Replace some of the animal protein in your diet with vegetable protein – try having at least 1 meatless meal each week.
  • Use meat to flavor dishes rather than dominate your plate.

8. Eat regularly; don’t fast then feast.

9. Don’t drink. If you do, keep your intake moderate.

10. Exercise

Try to be active every day – aiming for 30 minutes of exercise. Vacuuming the rugs, mowing the lawn, or window shopping during lunch counts.

11. Don’t smoke – less is better, none is best.

12. Get enough sleep – aim for 7 to 8 hours a night.

  • Sleep-deprived people are at greater risk for heart disease.
  • Sleep-deprived people weigh more.
  • Sleeping helps your body heal and restore itself.

Check out our latest book, The Fat and Cholesterol Counter to be sure you can count on a healthy heart.

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