Despite heart disease being the No. 1 cause of death, it’s largely preventable. That means you have the power to make positive changes that drastically lower your chances of developing it.
The journey to better heart health starts with knowing the facts about how your lifestyle influences your risk of heart disease. When you’re concerned about your heart health, a cardiovascular specialist is a valuable resource.
Here at Advanced Heart & Vascular Associates, cardiovascular physician Nader Chadda, MD, FACC, FSCAI, provides exceptional acute and preventive care. Because it’s best to prevent problems before they start, Dr. Chadda wants patients to know that there are things you can do right now to protect your heart health. Here are four surprisingly simple ways to lower your heart disease risk.
Become a tea drinker
Adding tea to your lifestyle is a very simple way to lower the risk of heart disease. Tea is extremely rich in polyphenols, plant compounds that are packed with antioxidants and other beneficial substances.
While most plants contain polyphenols, tea contains a rich, concentrated source that’s hard to get anywhere else. Drinking tea just two to three times a week cuts fatal heart disease risk by more than 50%, according to a study of more than 100,000 participants published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
Moderate alcohol intake
If you drink alcohol, something as simple as paying attention to how much you drink can have a major impact on protecting your heart. Compared with heavy drinking, moderate alcohol intake has long been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. A study published in 2021 found that light-to-moderate intake reduced the risk of heart attack and stroke by 27%.
Adopt a heart-healthy diet
Changing your diet doesn’t have to be complicated. What we eat on a regular basis plays a major role in our health. A diet high in animal fats and added sugars and low in fiber promotes the type of inflammation and fatty buildup that cause heart disease.
A heart-healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, is shown to cut heart disease risk by 47%. This type of diet focuses on a foundation of whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, and seeds, with healthy fats coming from sources like olive oil. Red meat and sweets are saved for an occasional treat, while dairy and poultry are enjoyed in moderation.
Making small and consistent changes to your diet by swapping certain foods for healthier ones is the simplest way to go about adopting a heart healthy diet.
Control risk factors
A simple visit to your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight can go a long way toward warding off heart disease. Knowing your numbers means you can work closely with your doctor to control risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity.
Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart attack, and so are elevated cholesterol, and being overweight — particularly abdominal obesity. Have your doctor check your waist circumference, as it is positively correlated with heart disease risk. The higher your waist circumference, the higher your risk of heart disease.
Once you know your numbers, if anything is off, you can work with your doctor to make appropriate changes. Controlling important risk factors can significantly lower your risk of developing and dying of heart disease.
To schedule a heart-health evaluation, call our clinic, where a knowledgeable team member is waiting to assist you. We have offices in Hudson, Brooksville, and Land O’ Lakes, Florida. We offer in-person and telehealth appointments. Another option is to request an appointment here on our website.