What Does a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Look Like?

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 Americans per year die as a result of heart disease, and every year about 735,000 have a heart attack. Preventative care is incredibly crucial in order to avoid stroke or heart attack; here’s how to give yourself the best chance at a healthy heart throughout the rest of your life.

Know Your Risk Factors

Although you cannot change heredity or pre-existing medical conditions, you do have a degree of control over the last 5 risk factors on the list below. Talk to your doctor about your medical history to assess both your lifestyle and inherited risk factors for heart disease.

  • Diabetes
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Physical inactivity
  • High cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • Long-term tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • Stress, whether emotional or work-related

If you have a higher risk of heart disease, it’s important to start being proactive about your heart health as early as possible. A coronary artery scan, or heart scan, is a type of imaging procedure that detects the amount of plaque that has accumulated in your coronary arteries. Early detection could save your life. ZendyHealth works with board-certified physicians and radiologists who perform heart scans, and could help you save 20-60% of the retail cost.

Exercise Well and Frequently

The Surgeon General recommends 30 minutes per day or a total of 2 and a half hours per week of moderate-level exercise (at a minimum) to help stave off heart disease. Combining cardio with weight training is a great way to change up your routine and keep your blood pressure down- here are suggestions for daily, realistic ways to stay active from the CDC.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Examples are choosing whole grains over refined, lean meat and fish, plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits (raw or roasted), and staying hydrated with water. Always check the labels at the grocery store in order to steer clear of added sugars, trans fats, and preservatives, and try to consume less than 100-150 calories of added sugars per day.

A recent USDA study examined almost 400 different meals at popular local and chain restaurants across the United States; results showed that 92% of these meals exceeded the USDA’s calorie recommendations for a single meal. Many of these meals even exceeded recommendations for an entire day’s calorie intake! This serves as an excellent reminder that it’s not only what we eat that matters, it’s also how much we eat. The proper amount of nutrients you need to consume daily depends on your age, gender, level of physical activity, and whether you are trying to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your current weight.

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