1) Don't smoke. If you smoke, find a way to quit. Smoking is toxic to the body. Every organ system is negatively impacted in some way, but certainly, it is a BIG risk factor for heart disease.
2) Eat a healthful, balanced, varied diet to help prevent heart disease, hypertension, and type-2 diabetes. Enjoy a variety of fruits and copious amounts of vegetables; eat whole grains and complex carbohydrates like oatmeal. Choose lean proteins. Include healthful fats found in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies, tuna., avocados, and nuts, and limit saturated fats found in fatty meats and cheese. Avoid processed food, fried food, fad diets, and extremes. Limit salt and simple sugars; sugar is our enemy. Drink more water and less soda.
3) Maintain ideal body weight. You can eat a healthy diet and still be overweight. Exercise portion control and enjoy small frequent meals. A good measure of where you stand is the BMI; optimal is less than 25, overweight is 25-30, obese is greater than 30. Cardiovascular risk increases with elevated BMI. Visit http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm to calculate your BMI.
4) Reduce stress. Try exercise - guaranteed to relieve stress. Walk with a friend and chat, take a dog and run; dance, garden, learn to do yoga... the possibilities are endless. Listen to music. Take a series of deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Turn off your phone and disconnect. Get more sleep.
5) Exercise. This is not optional. Exercise improves heart and lung function, decreases resting blood pressure, decreases body fat, decreases total and LDL "bad" cholesterol, raises HDL "good" cholesterol, increases energy level, increases tolerance to stress and depression, and controls or prevents the development of diabetes. Include aerobics (walking, biking, elliptical), resistance (strength training), and stretching. With time your body will respond by increasing muscle mass and tone and decreasing body fat. You will be thinner, stronger, more limber and flexible, and your body will function better and be less vulnerable to orthopedic injury. You will be healthier and decrease your risk of cancer, heart disease, and chronic illness.
See your doctor regularly to ensure optimal control of several key factors:
6) Healthful lipids including cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoproteins,
7) Healthful blood pressure,
8) Healthful blood sugar, and
9) Optimal vitamin D blood level.
10) Take appropriate nutritional supplements:
- A quality daily multivitamin with just 100% of essential vitamins and minerals is a great foundation. Research shows 80 to 90% of the population does not achieve the recommended daily value (RDV) for each vitamin and mineral each day, nor do they even come close. And, bear in mind that the RDV levels for each nutrient are intended to guard against only severe nutrient deficiency diseases, but are not intended to serve as levels of vitamin and mineral intake that are optimal in regard to maximizing our well-being and longevity.
- Supplement calcium and vitamin D as needed.
Boost your omega-3 intake with high potency, high-purity fish oil supplement; target 1000 mg combined DHA+EPA daily. Beyond the protective effects claimed for heart disease and cancers, scientific evidence strongly indicates that the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, may have potential benefits in the prevention and/or treatment of myriad health conditions.