Smoking can raise your risk for coronary heart disease and heart attack and worsen other coronary heart disease risk factors, therefore quitting smoking is imperative for having a healthy heart. A good idea is also try to avoid secondhand smoke.
Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and triglyceride levels, a type of fat found in the blood. Alcohol also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain which again leads to heart diseases.
Men should have no more than two drinks containing alcohol a day. Women should have no more than one drink containing alcohol a day. One drink is:
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1½ ounces of liquor
- Saturated fat—found mostly in foods that come from animals
- Trans fat (trans fatty acids)—found in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats, such as stick margarine; baked goods, such as cookies, cakes, and pies; crackers; frostings; and coffee creamers. Some trans fats also occur naturally in animal fats and meats.
Saturated fat raises your blood cholesterol more than anything else in your diet. When you follow a heart-healthy eating plan, only 5 percent to 6 percent of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. Food labels normally list the amounts of saturated fat.
Not all fats are bad. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats actually help lower blood cholesterol levels. Saturated fat raises your blood cholesterol more than anything else in your diet.
To have a healthy heart, one must include sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in their diets
A heart-healthy eating plan, would include:
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk
- Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and trout, about twice a week
- Fruits, such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and prunes
- Legumes, such as kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans
- Vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and carrots
- Whole grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice, and corn tortillas
- A lot of red meat
- Palm and coconut oils
- Sugary foods and beverages