No matter who you are, you’re probably at risk of dying from a cardiovascular-related issue. There are a lot of variables at play, but given enough time, most people are going to find their cardiovascular system stressed at some point. Heart attacks, for example, are pretty common emergencies despite the wealth of knowledge we have about how to avoid them.
Really, it’s pretty simple. Stick to a healthy diet, exercise, and take care of yourself. Of course, we’re all going to suffer some sort of cataclysmic health failure at some point. Even the healthiest among us will have heart attacks or be diagnosed with cancer. People who have never touched a cigarette end up with lung cancer and vegans can still have high cholesterol. But you can improve your odds, and live a longer life, by covering your bases.
How could flossing possibly be good for your heart? Though the evidence is still circumstantial, doctors are exploring an apparent link between gum disease and heart disease. Either way, you should be flossing.
2. Move west
Culture makes a difference. So does your environment. Look at a map of the United States, and you’ll see certain areas are rife with heart disease and heart attacks. Others? Not nearly as much. The areas with lower incidences of heart issues tend to be out west. Take a look at the list of America’s healthiest cities for further proof.
3. Go to sleep
The importance of sleep can’t be understated. Yet, many of us ignore it. We stay up late playing video games, frolicking at bars, or surfing social media. Setting a strict sleep schedule will do wonders for your health, though. It’ll also help ward off heart disease, according to Harvard researchers.
4. Have the salmon
Most Americans eat meat. Meats — red, processed meats, in particular — are filled with fats and cholesterol, and when consumed in abundance, can contribute to heart disease. Fish, on the other hand, contains heart-healthy fats. If you don’t already eat seafood, try getting some more fish into your diet. Substitute salmon one day per week for your typical burger.
5. Go on vacation
You know what leads to heart attacks and strokes? Stress. What’s a great way to relieve that stress, or at least get away from it for a bit? Go on vacation. We’re overworked and overstressed. If you have the means to take a vacation (or just get away from your hectic daily life), do it.
6. Crank up the Mozart
Music can impact your mood and stress levels. If you’re listening to Slayer and pounding Red Bull all day? You’re probably going to be ready to snap. Interestingly enough, studies show listening to classical music can help your heart. It reduces blood pressure, calms you down, and can prevent heart disease.
7. Get a roommate
Live alone? It may actually be contributing to heart issues, as odd as it may seem. Studies have shown people who live alone have an increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks. There are a lot of factors that play into it, but just know that if you’re flying solo, it may not be great for your heart health.
8. Give up soda
You’re probably tired of hearing you should give up soft drinks, but tough. They’re filled with sugar (and often caffeine) and are part of the increasing obesity rate. That means they’re a part of the heart disease equation as well. If you can give soda up, you can lower your risks of heart attack considerably.
9. Get a dog
Get a dog? Get a dog! Having a dog around will help you become more active (that Dalmatian isn’t going to walk itself), and they can be great stress relievers. The numbers don’t lie — dogs can actually lower your risk of heart attack.
10. Don’t have (too many) kids
Having kids is stressful. They also eat up a lot of your time, meaning you don’t have the bandwidth for exercise, and end up eating unhealthy foods. Scientists have linked kids, at least having more than four, to an increased risk of heart attack.