4 Lifestyle Causes of Heart Disease, and What to Do About Them
While it is true that some people are genetically prone to heart health issues, the truth is that many cases of cardiovascular disease, that is, problems with the heart and blood vessels, are actually due to a person’s lifestyle. Here are some of the main lifestyle causes of heart disease, and what you can do about them.
Smoking tobacco has been linked to a range of serious diseases, including heart disease and certain types of cancer. If you smoke, quit. Within a year you will reduce your heart health risk significantly, and within 5 years, it will almost be as if you had never smoked.
2-Diet, especially dietary cholesterol
We are what we eat, so putting quality food into our bodies will get high performance out of it. Cholesterol is a natural substance produced by our liver that supplies waxy fat to create cell membranes and contribute to the formation of certain hormones. Too much dietary fat, however, can lead to a waxy buildup in the arteries called plaque. Plaque contributes to hardening of the arteries, and this has been associated with heart attack and stroke.
To keep your arteries free from plaque, avoid animal foods, which contain cholesterol, such as meat, milk and eggs. Try to get your protein from fatty fish and plant-based foods such as soy, beans and legumes like lentils and peanuts. Add healthy fats to your diet like olive oil and avocados and their oil, which will boost HDL or helpful cholesterol, which can keep arteries free from plaque.
3-Deal with high blood pressure if you have it
High blood pressure (HBP) has been associated with heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure causes the heart to work much harder than it has to in order to pump blood to all of the parts of the body that need it. If the arteries are clogged with plaque, the heart has to work even harder. The pressure hardens the arteries further. If your blood pressure is higher than 120/80, try to get it down by cutting back on your sodium (salt) intake and cooking fresh foods for yourself.
Losing weight can help lower blood pressure and even reverse diabetes. The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension [HBP]) will not only lower blood pressure, it can help you lose weight and be the foundation of your new heart healthy lifestyle.