9 Healthy Habits That Reduce Heart Attack Risk

  • happy senior couple, couple, senior, happy, outdoors,
    Secrets to Living Longer
    According to the CDC, someone has a heart attack every 43 seconds and 610,000 Americans die of heart disease each year. The really bad news is that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. But the really good news is there’s a natural way to reduce your risk of heart attack: add 8 healthy habits to your everyday routine. And even better news? Some of these will actually make your day more fun!

  • vegetables
    1. Eat better.
    This habit makes the top of the list because it prevents many more ailments than just heart disease. You don’t have to change all of your eating habits at once, but aim for adding more whole grains, vegetables and fruits to your diet each week. And try to cut back on saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and sugar. Switching to a heart healthy diet will keep your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar in check and help you maintain a healthy weight.

  • senior woman smiling with water bottle
    2. Move your body.
    You may have heard that you should get 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise at least 5 days a week. This is a great guideline and it doesn’t have to be a grind. You can break your 30 minutes into smaller increments like walking your dog for 15 minutes twice a day. Or play with your kids, have a dance party in your living room, even work in your garden. It doesn’t matter what you do, just have fun working up a little sweat every day.

  • Stubbing out cigarette
    3. Steer clear of smoke.
    If you want to greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, it’s essential to avoid smoke in any way, shape or form. Smoking damages the heart and blood vessels and can raise your blood pressure. We know it can be tough to quit smoking or change your lifestyle to avoid second-hand smoke, so don’t be afraid to ask for support and try a variety of approaches until you find the right fit.

  • Alcohol
    4. Cut back on alcohol.
    Drinking too much can raise your blood pressure and your risk of heart attack. You don’t have to quit alcohol completely to keep your heart healthy, but it’s smart to cut back to the recommended maximum of 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink per day for women. Drinking alcohol can also impair your decision-making which could lead to poor food choices or skipping out on other heart healthy habits.

  • senior-man-brushing-teeth
    5. Take care of your teeth.
    Though daily brushing and flossing hasn’t been proven to prevent heart disease, some studies suggest that chronic gum disease may increase the thickness of the blood vessels of your neck and put you at risk for poor heart health. Even if oral health and heart attack prevention aren’t directly related, daily dental hygiene is always good for your general wellness and disease prevention.

  • cup of tea, tea, herbal tea
    6. Drink more tea.
    A recent study at Johns Hopkins Hospital found that people who drink a cup of tea a day have a 35% decrease in heart attack risk. Though the exact cause and effect couldn’t be confirmed, the researchers did observe that tea drinkers often have a healthier lifestyle that spills over into healthy habits. Either way, relaxing with a friend or walking to Starbucks for a cup of tea is bound to make your heart happy.

  • the components of ra 2
    7. Take aspirin if you’re at risk.
    Studies show that low-dose aspirin works best as a preventative medication for people who have already experienced a heart attack, stroke or other heart event. However, the American Heart Association does recommend taking low-dose aspirin daily if you have a high-risk for heart attack. Because aspirin is a blood thinner, be sure to consult your doctor before adding it to your daily regimen to avoid any potential complications based on your health history.

  • Personal or Family History of Breast Cancer
    8. Set a good example.
    Did you know that two-thirds of teenagers have at least one risk factor for heart disease? Between sedentary lifestyles and obesity, kids need healthy habits just as much as the adults in their lives. It’s more fun to prepare food when it’s a group effort, so plan healthy meals with ingredients everyone likes and try a new recipe each week. Challenge each other to come up with outrageous activities to move your bodies. See how much fun you can have being heart healthy as a team.

  • Screen Time
    9. Treat yourself!
    To keep your heart (and soul) healthy, make it a habit to treat yourself to a little stress relief. Stress can cause high blood pressure and lead to poor choices in eating, exercise and alcohol consumption. So keep your stress level dialed down by pampering yourself with downtime each day. Watch a favorite TV show, catch up with a friend or listen to music. Lowered stress equals reduced risk of heart attack and increased likelihood of a long, happy life.

9 Healthy Habits That Reduce Heart Attack Risk

About The Author

Elizabeth has been writing for Healthgrades since 2014 and specializes in articles about alternative and complementary therapies like meditation, yoga, energy work and aromatherapy. She also performs improv comedy and is a firm believer that laughter really is the best medicine.
  1. Heart Disease Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_heart_disease.htm
  2. Preventing Heart Disease: Healthy Living Habits. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/healthy_living.htm
  3. Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. National Heart, Lung,and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/healthy-heart-guide-html#tc35
  4. Heart attack: Lifestyle and home remedies. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/con-200195...
  5. Adult health: Will taking care of my teeth prevent heart disease? Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/heart-disease-prevention/faq-2005798
  6. Make the Effort to Prevent Heart Disease with Life’s Simple 7. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/Make-the-Effort-to-Prevent-Heart-Disease-with-Lifes-Simple-7_UCM_443750_Article.jsp#.VvhDh5MrKgx
  7. Aspirin and Heart Disease. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/PreventionTreatmentofHeartAttack/Aspirin-and-Heart-Disease_UCM_321714_Article.jsp#.VwFgrBMrJjs
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 2
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