How Do You Keep Your Heart Healthy?


Quick Answer

Eating healthful foods, getting regular exercise, maintaining a normal weight, drinking alcohol in moderation and avoiding tobacco products and secondhand smoke are all ways to keep the heart healthy, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Managing stress is also essential for heart health.

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Full Answer

A heart-healthy diet plan limits nutrient-poor foods and emphasizes poultry, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, low-fat dairy products and nuts. Soft drinks and baked goods are examples of nutrient-poor foods, or foods that have a lot of calories but little nutritional value. Saturated fat should not account for more than 6 percent of a person's total calories each day, as recommended by the American Heart Association.

Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week to maintain good heart, lung and muscle heath, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who exercise vigorously should get 75 minutes of physical activity per week. Additionally, adults should perform muscle-strengthening exercises a minimum of two days per week.

Being overweight increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and other heart problems, but losing excess weight improves heart health. Although there are many different diet plans, weight loss only occurs if more calories are burned than consumed, according to Mayo Clinic. Eating smaller portions and avoiding nutrient-poor foods reduces caloric intake, while getting more physical activity increases the number of calories burned each day.

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