Study Identifies Top Strategies to Prevent Heart Disease
Researchers from Scotland identified five critical lifestyle factors that contribute to the development and progression of heart disease. The result of their study was published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine and shows that those individuals with just one poor lifestyle habit were 85% more likely to die from a heart attack over a 20 year follow up period. Those with 4 poor habits were 349% more likely to die during the same period. The study authors identified the following modifiable factors as being most important to prevent heart disease.
1. Avoid Tobacco and Smoking: Smoking is widely considered to be the most important lifestyle event to prevent heart disease (as well as many other chronic illnesses). Smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes contains more than 300 chemicals that are known to promote arterial hardening that leads to high blood pressure and dramatically increased risk of heart attack.
2. Increase Physical Activity and Exercise: Researchers recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise each day of the week. This does not have to be heart-pounding aerobic conditioning, but should be enough to raise the heart rate slightly. Exercise sessions can be broken into 10 minute cycles, 3 times a day to accommodate busy schedules.
4. Eat a Well Balanced, Reduced Calorie Diet: Next to smoking, healthy diet is the next most important factor that will impact your risk for heart disease. Eliminate all sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed convenience foods. Fresh vegetables and greens should make up the core of your meal. Compliment with small quantities of lean meats, nuts, seeds and monounsaturated fat sources.
5. Drink Alcohol in Moderation: Avoid alcohol, or severely limit the number of daily drinks. Men should have no more than 1 or 2 drinks per day, while women should limit their intake to one. While some research has shown a small protective effect for alcohol consumption, if you don’t drink, don’t start.
Information from this study underscores the importance of making modifications for the prevention of heart disease. Extensive research provides undeniable proof that heart disease can be prevented, treated and reversed by making small changes to diet and lifestyle. Following all five of the suggestions outlined in this report will lower the risk of developing heart disease three-fold and dramatically improve your quality of life.