A staggering 48 percent of American adults suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease, finds a new report published in the journal Circulation. Heart disease claims the lives of 1 in 3 American women, and as the leading cause of death in the country, heart disease prevention should be front of mind for everyone.
Quitting smoking and excessive drinking are no-brainers, but lowering your risk also includes taking small steps to improve your health overall. Exercising regularly is a good place to start and getting enough sleep is always a good idea. Doing what you can to limit the amount of stress in your life, while also seeking an occasional thrill. But there are also some other tricks that can help decrease your risk of heart disease as well. And some of them are things you’re going to want to do anyway. (Hint: Cue up “Business Time” by Flight of the Conchords.)
This isn’t just a sneaky way to get you to vacuum your rugs and scrub the countertops more often. Past research suggests it only takes moving around for 30 minutes a day—even if you’re just sweeping!—to reduce your risk of heart disease by 24 percent. It’s a win-win.
You might think dynamic activities like running are the best for your heart health, but when it comes to reducing your risk of heart disease, researchers found static activity is best. That means you might want to add strength training into the mix, ASAP—even if it’s only 5 minutes.
Now I’ve got your attention. Experts say having sex can increase your heart rate and promote a healthy blood pressure, lowering your risk of heart disease by 40 to 50 percent. Aka all the more reason to race off to the bedroom.
When it comes to foods that give your heart health a boost, there’s a lot to choose from. To keep the important organ healthy (and your heart disease risk low!), stock up on omega-3-filled chia seeds and flaxseeds, antioxidant-loaded pomegranates, and cholesterol-helping avocados. Even the occasional glass of wine provides some benefits.
It turns out your heart is really into yogurt. One study found eating one to two servings a week could make you 20 percent less likely to develop heart disease down the line.
In the past, a combo of different heath and wellness practices were linked to a lowered risk of heart disease: a vegetarian diet, meditation, yoga, and massage. So stock your fridge and get your Zen on—it’ll do your heart some good.
Eggs sometimes get a bad rap, but they might provide some benefits when it comes to your heart. In fact, one study found eating an egg a day could lower your risk of developing heart disease.
Polyphenols are found in fruits, veggies, and drinks like red wine, and past research has found eating a diet rich in them can prevent heart disease. That means loading up on cherries, strawberries, red grapes, artichokes, red onion, and—drumroll, please—a little dark chocolate.