According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., taking the lives of nearly 610,000 people every year. Additionally, 735,000 Americans have a heart attack every year.
While some of these devastating numbers are the result of genetics, such as race and ethnicity, there are also controllable factors that increase one's risk of developing heart disease, such as obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
By making smart lifestyle choices, anyone can reduce his or her risk of having a heart attack. Consider the following suggestions below:
Be physically active
Regular physical active is critical for overall wellness. According to the American Heart Association, exercising three to four times a week at 40 minutes per session can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood and cholesterol levels, which ultimately reduces your risk of having a heart attack.
If you're not accustomed to exercising on a regular basis, you can still benefit by starting small. Start by adding 10 minutes of cardiovascular activity to your daily schedule, and increase your workout time as it becomes easier. Those who don't like spending a lot of time in the gym, but still want the same results of a long workout, should consider high intensity interval training. It's a type of workout that alternates between intense activity intervals and resting periods to maximize the calories you burn in a short period of time.
Reduce your stress
You know that reducing your stress levels is key for overall mental wellness. But did you know that too much stress can induce a heart attack? Hormones released during stressful times can trigger one, according to Dr. Mercola.
"Too much stress can induce a heart attack."
"During moments of high stress, your body releases hormones such as norepinephrine, which the researchers claim can cause the dispersal of bacterial biofilms from the walls of your arteries," Mercola said. "This dispersal can allow plaque deposits to suddenly break loose, thereby triggering a heart attack."
Exercising more often is a positive option for alleviating stress, but it's not the only way. Hang out with your friends and family, get outside to enjoy the fresh air and spend more time engaging in the hobbies you love. Renew your perspective and life balance by regular communion with God, so you can see how He sees your situation.
Follow a plant based diet
By making smarter food choices, you can fuel your body to work optimally, reducing your chance of becoming obese, or developing diabetes or high blood pressure – all factors that can trigger a heart attack. Instead of eating processed meats, cheeses and other foods that clog your arteries with fat, switch to a plant based diet. In Rev. Malkmus' book "God's Original Diet," he praised T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., author of "The China Study," who studied how beneficial a 100 percent plant based diet can be. He believes it can stop the saddening statistics from rising.
"A whole foods, plant-based diet can prevent and treat heart disease, saving hundreds of thousands of Americans every year," wrote Campbell.