10 Surprising Things That Can Lower Your Risk of Having a Heart Attack

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.

1. Flossing

Woman with healthy teeth

Flossing can help your heart. | iStock.com

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

denver skyline

Denver’s skyline is one you’ll want to see. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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

Man sleeping in bed

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. | iStock.com

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

seared salmon with lemon zest and fennel on a white plate

This salmon filet will help your heart. | iStock.com

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

RV for vacationing

Vacation like your life depends on it in an RV. | iStock.com

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

smartphone with earbuds.

Get well-acquainted with classical music. | iStock.com/dmilovanovic

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

Roommates in the movie The Roommate

Here are a few roommates in the movie The Roommate. | Screen Gems

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

Soda cans

Stay far away from soda. | iStock.com

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

Woman and her dog at her home office hugging

Now’s the time to get a dog. | iStock.com/Anchiy

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

parent with daughters

The number of children you have can play a role. | iStock.com

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.

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