Five Easy Ways to Help Your Heart

Health Writer
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You must exercise

Inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease. Regular exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, has many heart-related benefits. It strengthens your heart, improves circulation and lowers blood pressure.

Look out for salt

Salt can hide in unexpected places. Read food labels carefully. For some people, a high-sodium diet is linked to high blood pressure. High blood pressure puts excess stress on the heart and can lead to stroke and heart failure.

Avoid trans fats

Trans fats can increase LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), increase triglycerides and lower HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). The Food and Drug Administration no longer describes trans fats as “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. Check food labels and use heart healthy oils, such as olive oil or canola oil, when cooking.

Limit high fat meats

Choose leaner cuts of beef, pork and poultry. Trim off any visible fat, and limit your consumption of processed meats as much as you can. Processed meats include sausage, lunch meats and bacon.

Eat fruits and veggies every day

Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. They are low in both fat and calories. They help you maintain a healthy weight and can lower your blood pressure. Try to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables daily. The American Heart Association recommends eight or more fruit and vegetable servings per day.