Heart health is as important as ever. Over the past few decades, we’ve sifted through the top medical research to determine the most important steps you can take to keep your heart in tiptop shape.
We suggest adopting one of the following tips every two weeks so you can slowly build healthier habits. The good news? Each one can be done in under two hours and can add years to your life.
Be active. Exercise and physical activity are about the closest things you have to magic bullets against heart disease and other chronic conditions. Any amount of activity is better than none; at least 30 minutes a day is best.
Aim for a healthy weight. Carrying extra pounds, especially around the belly, strains the heart and tips you toward diabetes. If you are overweight, losing just 5% to 10% of your starting weight can make a big difference in your blood pressure and blood sugar.
Enliven your diet. Add fruits and vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fat, good protein (from beans, nuts, fish, and poultry), and herbs and spices. Subtract processed foods, salt, rapidly digested carbohydrates (from white bread, white rice, potatoes, and the like), red meat, and soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages.
Drink alcohol in moderation (if at all). If you drink alcohol, limit your intake — one to two drinks a day for men, no more than one a day for women.