Question: What are some of the actions I can take to prevent heart disease?
Answer: Even though heart disease is our leading killer, the good news is that it's highly preventable. And the root cause of heart disease in most Americans is a poor lifestyle. And if we reduce our consumption of cigarettes by even one a day, we can make a difference in our heart disease risk. By increasing our physical activity -- every minute matters. Thirty minutes a day can substantially reduce our risk of heart disease, and it doesn't have to be intense physical activity. Even moderate levels, such as brisk walking 10 minutes, three times a day, can have a significant impact on our risk for heart disease.
Eating healthy is one of the most confusing areas of how to prevent heart disease. The good news is that the answer is really quite simple. We want a diet that's varied; we want a diet that's rich in fruits and vegetables. Try to eat fish twice a week. Reduce your consumption of saturated fats and avoid trans fats altogether, if possible. We can do this by minimizing the amount of processed foods we eat and try to eat more naturally. Again, fruits and vegetables is really key to preventing heart disease and also is associated with reducing blood pressure levels. So there's lots we can do to prevent heart disease -- and many other conditions -- by adopting a very healthy lifestyle.
One of the biggest problems we have in our country is overweight and obesity. By maintaining a healthy weight, we can substantially lower our risk of developing many of the major risk factors for heart disease, such as abnormal cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. And by doing this, we can avoid the need to take medications to treat these risk factors in the future. It's hard work, but there's great payoff for this.