Living a healthy lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from cardiovascular disease. Regular physical activity can help reduce the risk of heart disease, as it helps maintain a healthy weight and prevents other conditions that can put strain on the heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Being overweight, particularly in the abdominal area, increases the risk of heart disease. Excess weight can lead to conditions that increase the chance of developing heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
The body mass index (BMI) is a tool used to measure if a person is overweight or obese. A BMI of 25 or more is considered overweight and is usually associated with higher cholesterol levels, higher blood pressure, and a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Even a small amount of weight loss can be beneficial. Shedding just 3-5% of your body weight can help lower triglycerides, glucose levels, and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Losing more weight can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
People aged 18-39 with risk factors for high blood pressure should have their blood pressure tested annually. People aged 40 and over should also have their blood pressure checked every year. Garlic is a natural remedy that can help reduce the risk of heart disease. However, if you take blood thinners or have a clotting disorder, it's best to consult your doctor before using garlic supplements. Flaxseed is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health.
Omega-3s help reduce inflammation and blood pressure, as well as containing lignans which can reduce cholesterol levels and plaque buildup in the arteries. Vitamin K2 is another nutrient that may help reduce blockages that cause heart attacks and strokes. Clinical studies are currently underway to determine its effectiveness. Resveratrol has been widely studied in the past due to its presence in red wine and chocolate. However, research has not been conclusive in terms of its benefits for heart health. Foreman suggests eating foods high in polyphenols, such as dark chocolate, red wine (in moderation), blueberries, grapes, and pistachios.
These foods contain antioxidants which can help protect against heart disease.