Dr. Holly Andersen director of education and outreach at the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Dr. Jennifer Haythe, a cardiologist at the Center for Advanced Cardiac Care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, offer women seven simple steps to reduce their risk of developing heart disease.
Here are seven things women can do every day to decrease heart disease risk:
2. Get up and move. Walking for 20-30 minutes a day can be a lifesaver. Just getting your heart rate up for this long can reduce your risk of premature death by 50 percent or more.
3. Put down the cigarette. The single best thing you can do for your health is to stop smoking. Even smoking just a few cigarettes a day more than doubles your risk of heart disease. Your risk begins to fall within a few months after you quit and returns to the level of nonsmokers within 3 to 5 years regardless of the amount smoked.
4. Just say NO to fast foods. Most people think of ice cream, French fries and donuts as comfort foods, but they are actually working against you. These processed foods are loaded with salt and ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup that drain you of energy and speed up the aging process. Consuming less salt is a good idea overall to decrease your risk of heart disease.
5. Get on the Mediterranean diet. This means eating primarily fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts; replacing butter with a healthy fat such as olive oil; using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor your food; eating red meat a few times a month and eating fish and poultry at least twice a week. You can also drink red wine in moderation if you like.
6. Get a good night's sleep. You should try to sleep an average of 7-8 hours every night. Lack of sleep increases your blood pressure, induces stress, increases your appetite and slows down your metabolism
7. Listen to your body. A 2010 American Heart Association Survey found that just over half of American women would call 911 if they believed they were having a heart attack. Put yourself first and call 911 if you think you are having a heart attack. .
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