Good nutrition and an active lifestyle are key when it comes to heart health for men. However, those things alone often cannot prevent heart disease and other heart health complications. More men die from heart disease than any other disease, so it’s important to understand the risk factors and the most effective ways to improve heart health.
There are a number of things that men, no matter their age, can do to improve heart health. Health experts suggest starting with prevention. Solid prevention measures include:
- Getting regular checkups. You should receive annual physical examination by a primary care provider, seasonal and age-appropriate vaccinations and boosters, age-appropriate tests recommended by the United States Preventive Task Force (USPTF) and other preventative health and wellness recommendations made by your primary care provider. Paying regular visits to a healthcare provider helps identify risk factors like high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Quitting smoking (for smokers). Quitting smoking eliminates the consumption of tobacco, which is a major cause of heart disease.
- Reducing stress. Stress increases heart disease risk, so it’s beneficial to participate in stress-reducing techniques like deep breathing, meditation and massage.
- Focusing on self-care. Self-care practices like taking prescribed medications are key, especially when they treat symptomless conditions like high blood pressure or cholesterol.
- Getting enough sleep. People who don't get enough sleep are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, regardless of their age, weight, smoking and exercise habits.
- Men who are overweight or obese should focus on losing weight by reducing calorie intake and exercising more.
Men can also focus on eating foods that provide specific heart benefits, and on cutting out foods that are detrimental to heart health. A heart-healthy diet includes:
- At least two servings of fish a week, including salmon, trout or mackerel. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish can help prevent sudden death from heart attacks.
- Limited salt, which raises blood pressure.
- Red wine, which contains antioxidants that could reduce heart disease risk.
- Plant-based foods, which are low in calories and high in fiber and antioxidants, can help maintain low blood pressure. Be sure to include grain, plant and fruit-based fiber in your diet.
- Cutting out enriched processed flour products and processed sugar products. This includes bleached white bread, sodas and even diet sodas.
- Drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day.
Men should aim to fit in 30–60 minutes of regular aerobic exercise three to six days per week. Check in with one of the heart specialists at the Goshen Health Heart and Vascular Center to learn more about heart health.
Posted: 5/13/2016 by
Filed under: heart and vascular