Health Fusion: 6 ways to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. But take baby steps!

Health Fusion: 6 ways to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.  But take baby steps!

No. 1: Food: Kopecky recommends an eating plan that includes lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, lean meats (fish, such as salmon) and healthy fats, such as olive oil. He suggests limiting alcohol, sugary foods, sugary beverages, salt and processed foods. Six steps to better health: “What we eat is important, but there are other things to consider when it comes to food,” Kopecky says. “It’s when you eat, how you cook what you eat, who you eat with, what you’re doing while you eat. It really is a whole series of things. But if we take it one small step at a time, we can certainly change.”

“If you make the right lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by about 85 to 90% over time,” Kopecky says. For some people, even starting slow sounds like too much of a hassle. But Kopecky has some incentive that might help you embrace that positive change.

OK! That’s enough to get me to get off the couch and start moving. Here are the changes he says will help make you healthier and improve your quality of life. And remember, start with baby steps. Kopecky says that the way to make lifestyle changes last is to integrate them into your daily life slowly. Instead of revamping your entire eating plan all at once, replace some of those fries on your plate with a vegetable. Or reach for a piece of fruit instead of a cookie. When it comes to exercise, you can ease into it by taking an evening walk. Start slow and build from there.

No 5: Body weight. Maintain a weight that’s right for you. No 6: Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit. You might wonder about where your genes come into play in all of this. He adds that both poor sleep and uncontrolled stress are associated with an increased risk of diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and depression.

“The two things that people forget about, because they’re so ubiquitous and everybody has them, is poor sleep and stress,” says Kopecky. “People might brag that they can put up with three of four hours of sleep a night. Or they might think that they’ll just put up with stress. But that’s not good.” No. 2: Physical activity: Just move more. Dr. Kopecky says any movement is better than none, but the more you do, the better. Be sure to talk to your health care provider before you start.No. 3: Sufficient sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website states that adults should get seven hours of sleep per night.No 4: Stress. Take steps to reduce it. Deep breathing, yoga and mindfulness-based stress reduction are examples of practices that can help reduce stress.

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