The American Heart Association (AHA) has long been at the forefront of America’s fight against heart disease. Since 1924, the organization has backed scientific research in the search for treatments and preventative measures. Over the years, these studies have lead to many significant findings that have formed the way physicians today understand and approach heart disease, including their recommendations to prevent its development through healthy lifestyle choices such as the following.
Exercise Recommendations for a Healthy Heart
The science is clear: exercise strengthens and protects the heart. In fact, lack of exercise and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle are among the biggest threats facing American heart health today. Physical activity can address these concerns by burning calories, helping maintain a healthy weight, and strengthening the heart and other muscles throughout the body. Currently, the AHA recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, or an equal combination of both.
Dietary Recommendations for a Healthy Heart
A healthy body, much like a car, requires the right kind of fuel to keep it running optimally. A diet of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods can lead to a number of chronic health conditions and negatively impact the heart over time. Instead, it is important to focus on a normal, day-to-day diet that consists of the proteins, minerals, whole grains, and other nutrients the body needs to thrive. Among the AHA recommendations for a heart healthy diet are the following:
- Skinless fish and poultry
- Nuts and legumes
- Low-fat dairy products
- Whole grains
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
On the other hand, the AHA also recommends limiting trans fat, saturated fat, and sodium.
Lifestyle Recommendations for a Healthy Heart
In addition to physical activity and a healthy diet, there are certain lifestyle changes that can also make a positive impact on heart health, with the most significant being quitting smoking. While heart disease may be the number one killer of Americans, cigarettes are directly linked to one-fifth of these deaths. Furthermore, smokers have heart disease death rate that is 70 percent higher than non-smokers. Fortunately, bodily damage and increased health risks from smoking can be reversed. Within five years, the risk for lung cancer is reduced by half, and within 15 years, a former smoker’s risk for heart attack and stroke are the same as an individual who has never smoked.
When it comes to heart health, there is no source more reputable than the American Heart Association. Take their years of research and scientific study to heart in the most literal way possible. Implement these recommendations into your own daily life and reap the healthy rewards. Need some help? Cardiovascular Institute of the South is available across several locations with teams of qualified cardiologists and medical professionals to help you achieve each step along your journey to improved health. Click below to contact us today!