Taking care of your heart probably isn’t at the top of your daily to-do list. But with heart disease being the leading cause of death among men in the United States, taking steps towards better heart health wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Several factors can raise your risk factor for getting heart disease that aren’t controllable, like genetics or your environment. But others are manageable, like how active you are or your diet, and these are the ones that are crucial to keep in mind as you start making lifestyle changes.
So if you want to get ahead of the curve and do what you can to limit your risk of developing heart disease, here are three habits you should leave behind today in favor of better heart health:
1. Drinking too much alcohol
A single beer or glass of wine alone isn’t enough to send you to the hospital, but drinking more than the recommended guidelines (no more than two drinks a day for men) can pose a threat to the heart. According to John Hopkins Medicine, excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, or stroke, so if you do drink, don’t overdo it.
2. Not eating heart-healthy foods
High-fat or high-sodium foods like pizza or other fast food might be convenient and tasty, but when it comes to your heart, they aren’t always the best and lead to issues that cause heart disease. So instead, eat a balanced, heart-healthy diet that includes lots of fruits and veggies, healthy fats and oils, lean protein, and whole grains, and enjoy your favorite indulgent food in moderation.
3. Skipping your dental care routine
You might wonder what your teeth have to do with your heart, but the science is clear: there is a connection between dental hygiene and cardiovascular health. And it turns out those with poor oral health have higher rates of heart problems. So to lessen your risk factor, daily brushing and flossing and regular cleanings are key.
Making lifestyle changes of any kind can be difficult, but just remember that every little adjustment makes a difference, and your heart will benefit in the long run. For more information on men’s health and heart disease, visit the CDC’s website here: www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/men.htm.