Healthy Heart Tips for Preventing Heart Disease

Health & Safety Tips

Feb 15, 2024


For American Heart Month, our emergency care staff is here to share their healthy heart tips with you. A healthy heart is vital for overall well-being, and taking proactive steps to prevent heart disease is crucial to live a long and healthy life. Heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases are significant risks to both men and women; however, historically, heart attacks have been seen as more of a men’s health issue even when cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for women globally. 

All of this to say, the prevalence of heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases is relatively high in both men and women. Therefore, we want to emphasize the importance of adopting heart-healthy lifestyles and regular health screenings for everyone, regardless of gender or health background. Although some tips we will share may seem like a no-brainer to maintaining a healthy heart, they are still important to remember and implement in your everyday routine. 

Healthy heart tips include:

  • Eating a balanced diet of healthy heart foods
  • Exercising regularly 
  • Managing stress
  • Avoiding smoking  
  • Limiting alcohol consumption 

The risks of heart disease

Heart disease poses significant risks, involving both lifestyle choices and genetic factors. Recognizing the signs of a weak heart — like feeling tired, having trouble breathing, or experiencing leg swelling — can allow you to make the necessary lifestyle adjustments you need to live a long and healthy life. If you know you are more susceptible to heart disease due to your family history or your lifestyle choices, visiting a cardiovascular specialist often will help you stay on top of your heart health. 

Additionally, understanding the warnings of a heart attack, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and lightheadedness, is crucial so that you can seek medical attention when necessary. A heart attack can be fatal if not treated promptly. Taking steps to address these risks, including adopting a healthy lifestyle and regular health check-ups, is essential for preventing and managing heart disease and should be taken seriously.

Keep reading: What’s the difference between cardiac arrest and heart attack?

What is the main cause of heart disease?

If you want to know how to improve heart health quickly, you need to be able to identify factors that could put you at risk for heart disease. The main causes of heart disease are poor diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and underlying health conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes. 

While most of these causes can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle, heart disease can be genetic. If members of your family have a history of heart disease or diabetes, you could be more susceptible — however, you can still reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular issues by adhering to our healthy heart tips.

5 healthy heart tips that can help prevent heart disease 

1. Eat a balanced diet of healthy heart foods

We wish that we could live in a world where we could eat whatever we wanted and not have to face any consequences. However, maintaining a poor diet is a large contributor to heart disease. Diets that are high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium can contribute to the development of heart disease. Prioritizing healthy heart foods in your diet can help to keep cardiovascular issues at bay.

What foods prevent heart attacks? Healthy heart foods that can lower your risk of heart disease include:

  • Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that improve heart function
  • Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, broccoli, etc. are high in vitamin K and promote healthy blood clotting 
  • Berries are packed with antioxidants and can help reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure
  • Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds are excellent sources of  omega-3 fatty acids and fiber
  • Oats can lower cholesterol levels as they contain beta-glucans

These are just a few examples of foods that can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Be sure to read your food labels and be wary of added sugar, oil, fat, and sodium. 

2. Exercise regularly 

If you’ve already given up on your New Year’s resolution fitness goals, it’s time to strap those running shoes back on! Instead of exercising just to “get in shape,” exercise for the well-being of your heart! 

Why is physical activity so important in preventing heart disease? In short, exercising strengthens your heart muscle so that it can pump blood to the rest of your body more efficiently to maintain your overall health. That’s why they call it “cardio!” Engaging in regular exercise helps you to maintain a healthy weight, lowers your blood pressure, and improves overall cardiovascular function. Exercising for about 30 minutes a day is sufficient. 

Be sure to read up on our exercise safety tipsbefore you hit the gym!

3. Manage stress

A key factor to managing heart health is to manage your stress levels. Everyone experiences stress, but did you know that excess stress can have negative effects on your heart? When the body experiences stress, it triggers the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can temporarily elevate blood pressure and heart rate. If you experience chronic stress, high levels of stress hormones may contribute to inflammation and damage to blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease.

Stress can also lead you to make poor health decisions such as overeating, smoking, or excessive drinking which can exacerbate heart problems. Prioritize exercise, meditation, quality sleep, and other coping mechanisms that can reduce stress. 

4. Avoid smoking  

We’re sure we don’t need to explain this in too much detail as we all know that smoking is terrible for you and your body. Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that damage blood vessels, leading to a higher risk of heart disease. Quitting smoking is one of the smartest choices you can make to improve your heart health. 

Breathing in secondhand smoke can lead to the development and progression of heart conditions such as coronary artery disease and may contribute to the formation of blood clots.

5. Limit alcohol consumption 

While moderate alcohol consumption may have some cardiovascular benefits, typically with red wine, excessive and frequent drinking can lead to heart-related problems. Consuming high levels of alcohol can elevate your blood pressure and lead to irregular heartbeats which can increase your risk of heart disease. Also, heavy alcohol consumption can often lead to weight gain and unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as poor diet and lack of exercise, which further exacerbate heart conditions. 

Limiting your alcohol intake is a great way to ensure that your blood pressure remains at a healthy level and will reduce the strain on your heart. So, have a glass of red wine here and there, but remember that alcohol is best enjoyed safely and in moderation.

Implement these healthy heart tips to improve and prioritize your heart health

When it comes to your overall health and well-being, prioritizing your heart health should be a top priority. Following these healthy heart tips and understanding the causes of heart disease is a great way to prevent and reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems. 

If you ever experience any concerning chest pain, or shortness of breath, or are simply concerned about your heart health, don’t wait to head into a Complete Care freestanding emergency care facility for help. We have multiple locations in Texas (Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, Lubbock, and San Antonio) and in Colorado Springs with a fully-equipped medical staff that is ready to help you 24/7. However, if you suspect that you are having a heart attack, call 911 and wait for medical help.

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