1. Get more active
Getting active – and staying active – will reduce your risk of developing heart disease, reduce your stress, and improve your mood.
30 minutes of almost any physical activity, 5 days a week will do the trick. And "non-exercise" exercises also count, like gardening, and in-depth cleaning of the kitchen, for example :)
2. Quit smoking
Not only this is (arguably) the single best thing that you can do for your heart health, but also that of your family and friends! Remember that passive smokers, suffer the consequences too.
The risk of suffering a heart attack is much higher for smokers, and it falls fall to about a half after a year from quitting smoking.
So, the sooner, the better!
3. Eat more fiber
Studies show that a high-fiber diet will help lower your risk of heart disease.
There are plenty of natural sources for fiber, such as wholemeal bread, bran, oats, and wholegrain cereals, potatoes with their skins on, fruits, and vegetables.
Aim for at least 30g of fiber per day.
4. Cut down on saturated fat
Fatty meat and deli cuts, whole milk, butter, sour cream, whipped cream, coconut, and palm oil, are all high offenders in saturated fat.
And saturated fat can increase your risk of heart disease, as it raises your cholesterol levels.
So, choose leaner cuts of meat and lower-fat dairy products like 1% fat milk over full-fat (or whole) milk.
5. Cut down on salt
Salt is a flavor booster, so we add it to everything, and everything we buy has it, but this also means that you've probably never really tasted food's real flavor.
Try cutting salt WAY down, eventually completely, and find other ways to season your meals. You'll be surprised at how yummy they can get without all that salt.
Also, check the food labels. If you see that it has more than 1.5g salt (or 0.6g sodium) per 100g, stay away from it.
Your taste buds, blood pressure, and heart will thank you for it.
6. Eat more fish
Omega-3 fats have been linked to protecting against heart disease. So, if their delicious flavor was not a good enough reason already, include a portion of oily fish, twice a week in your diet to the benefits of their omega-3 fats.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women, however, should not have more than 2 portions of oily fish a week, since they are also high in mercury.