6 Ways to Help Prevent Heart Disease

One in four American deaths is caused by cardiovascular disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is an extremely alarming statistic for my family since my husband’s family seems to have a genetic predisposition to heart disease.

We had a lot of questions for our physicians and practitioners for strategies to help us prevent heart disease and here are some of the tips they gave us.

1. Exercise. Getting a half hour or more of exercise on a daily basis can reduce the risk of heart disease. I’ve taken up running, and while I’m still not at the point of attempting a 5K or anything, between that and our stationary bike, I’m trying to get 30 minutes of exercise in most days of the week.

2. Sleep. I epic fail at this and need to work on getting on a better sleeping schedule. I should be getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. Most nights I barely get 5 or 6. It’s a priority I need to take seriously because people who don’t get enough sleep have a higher risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks. I don’t want that!

3. Eat Whole Grains. Thanks to Post Cereal, who sent samples to my home and a gift for me as well, I’ve been able to start my day off right by eating a breakfast rich in whole grains.

Did you know that whole grain foods can keep your heart healthy and contribute to daily fiber needs? New Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain cereals in Honey Crunch and Vanilla Bunches, each have 2/3 of a day’s Whole Grain suggestion (33 grams), plus 4 grams of fiber and nutrients such as iron and folic acid for a deliciously and wholesome breakfast (or lunch, or snack!).

A touch of honey or a touch of vanilla is a tough choice to make 🙂 I admit to being a fan of both flavors, the honey adding a touch of sweetness and the vanilla giving a depth of richness that I don’t find often in a breakfast cereal. I like that the flakes don’t get soggy in the milk either.

I don’t believe that cereal is only for breakfast though, there are plenty of other ways to incorporate these new Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain cereals into your day from adding it to yogurt or even to top low fat ice cream to adding it to snack mixes and even making meat balls from it! You can learn more about the benefits of Honey Bunches of Oats on Facebook and Twitter.

4. Don’t Smoke or use Tobacco. This is something that we don’t do in our home anyway, and I’m really glad to see more and more public venues banning smoking so that second hand smoke isn’t an issue either. Smoking or using tobacco is actually one of the highest risk factors for developing heart disease.

5. Have a Healthy Weight. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight if one is overweight can be beneficial in preventing heart disease. I was quite overweight over ten years ago and lost 30 pounds. I’ve kept the weight off all those years, but find as I get older it’s harder to keep it off. Knowing that the excess weight ups my risk of heart disease makes me try and employ the other ways in this post to help keep my weight in check.

6. Go for Regular Health Screenings. It’s with a little embarrassment that I say that prior to my wellness check last November that it had been FOUR years since my previous one. Considering our insurance covers wellness checks in full…there’s no excuse for that. The reality is, to find the precursors to heart disease in order to work on them BEFORE they become a problem..one needs to go for a wellness check 😉 So as much as I (and maybe you!) hate to go to the doctor, having a yearly check up for blood pressure, cholesterol levels, sugar tests and more, may be the difference between changing our lifestyles a bit, or having a stent put in our hearts.

What kind of advice do you have for us all about how to help prevent heart disease?

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