The smartest plan for attacking a heart attack is, of course, preventing one from ever happening. Choose three of the following preventive strategies that you’re currently not doing. Make them a habit. The closer to the top of the list you get, the more you reduce your risk of heart disease.
1. Convince Your Wife to Stop Smoking
Nonsmoking husbands of smoking wives face a 92 percent increase in their risk of heart attack, according to a report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Breathing secondhand smoke boosts LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, decreases HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and increases your blood’s tendency to clot.
2. Walk, Run, or Lift Weights for 30 Minutes Four Times a Week
Middle-aged men who exercised vigorously for 2 or more hours cumulatively per week had 60 percent less risk of heart attack than inactive men did, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
3. Lose 10 to 20 Pounds
If you’re overweight, dropping 10 to 20 pounds could lower your risk of dying from a first heart attack by 16 percent. Being overweight drives up cholesterol and blood pressure, the precursors to coronary disease. A 10-year Mayo Clinic study found that overweight people had heart attacks 3.6 years earlier than normal-weight people did, and that obese heart-attack patients tended to be 8.2 years younger than normal-weight victims.
4. Drink Five Glasses of Water a Day
In a study at Loma Linda University, men who drank that many 8-ounce glasses were 54 percent less likely to have a fatal heart attack than those who drank two or fewer. Researchers say the water dilutes the blood, making it less likely to clot.
5. Switch from Coffee to Tea
A Dutch study found that people who drank 3 cups of tea a day had half the risk of heart attack of those who didn’t drink tea at all. Potent antioxidants, called flavonoids, in tea may provide a protective effect.
6. Grill Salmon on Saturday, Have a Tuna Sandwich on Tuesday
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health say that eating fish at least twice a week can lower your heart-disease risk by more than 30 percent. The magic ingredient is the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. In another study, men without heart disease were 10 percent less likely to die suddenly when their blood levels of omega-3s were high.
7. Ask Your Doctor About Vitamin E and Aspirin
Men who took the antioxidant and the blood thinner daily cut the plaque in their clogged arteries by more than 80 percent, according to a recent University of Pennsylvania study.
8. Eat a Cup of Total Corn Flakes for Breakfast
This cereal contains one of the highest concentrations of folate (675 micrograms) of any cold cereal. Taking in that much folic acid daily (the recommended amount is 400 mcg) cuts your risk of cardiovascular disease by 13 percent, according to researchers at Tulane University. Folate works by reducing blood levels of artery-damaging homocysteine.
9. Count to 10
Creating a 10-second buffer before reacting to a stressful situation may be enough to cool you down. Men who respond to stress with anger are three times more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease and five times more likely to have a heart attack before turning 55, say researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
10. Eat Watermelon
It contains about 40 percent more lycopene than is found in raw tomatoes, and a new study by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service shows that your body absorbs it at higher levels due to the melon’s high water content. Half a wedge may boost heart-disease prevention by 30 percent.
Courtesy Men’s Health