Most people suffering with symptoms of heart disease may not even realize their heart is suffering until it’s too late.
That’s why it’s important to take steps to protect your heart no matter your age or gender.
Here are 88 ways you can start down the road to protecting your heart and preventing heart disease.
1. Eat a steak – Eating lean beef helps your heart by providing the body heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, immunity-boosting selenium and homocysteine-lowering B vitamins.
2. Catch a scary movie – Horror movies – and anything else that causes your heart to race – help to strengthen your heart according to researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Kicking up your heart rate with a movie every so often can be like hitting a reset button for your heart and help it keeping beating.
3. Avoid running outside during hazy days – Research has shown air pollution can limit oxygen supply in the blood and make it more likely to clot.
4. Keep away from smokers – Taking in secondhand smoke just 30 minutes three times a week puts you at a 26 percent greater chance of developing heart disease so avoid it.
5. Take L-arginine – The amino acid L-arginine is converted to nitric oxide within the body. Nitric oxide helps the blood vessels expand and improved blood flow. Taking an L-arginine supplement like L-arginine Plus can support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
6. Take a swim – Researchers have found men who burn even just 50 calories a day participating in strenuous exercise are 62 percent less likely to die of heart disease compared to men who participate in less strenuous activities like walking or golfing.
7. Get your monounsaturated fat – Foods like macadamia nuts, high in monounsaturated fat, have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol levels.
8. Get on your bike – Men suffering from depression are more than twice as likely to develop heart disease than men who aren’t depressed. Exercise, including riding a bike, naturally helps relieve depression.
9. Take time to think – Daily meditation has been shown to help reduce anxiety and depression by more than 25 percent. How does that relate to heart disease? Those suffering with coronary artery disease with the most mental stress were three times more likely to die than those with less stress in their lives according to a University of Florida study.
10. Punch to prevent – According to a Harvard Study; men who internalize anger are twice as likely to develop heart disease. Find healthy ways to express your anger like punching a punching a punching bag.
11. Aspirin can help – University of North Carolina researchers found consuming aspirin regularly cut the risk of coronary heart disease by 28 percent. Taking a low dose before bed has shown to be most effective at preventing heart disease for those at a heightened risk (genetics, poor diet, lack of exercise, smokers).
12. Consumer some cranberry – Cranberry juice isn’t only for your urinary tract. Drinking three 8-ounce glasses a day for a month helped individuals increase good cholesterol by 10 percent in a University of Scranton study.
13. Eat in the morning – A Harvard study conducted on 3,900 individuals found eating breakfast every day helped lower the subjects risk of being overweight by 41 percent and reduced the risk of insulin sensitivity developing by 41 percent, both high risk factors for heart disease.
14. Folic acid helps – A study published in the British Medical Journal found individuals who consumed the recommended amount of folic acid each day had a 16 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those who lacked the recommended amount of this B vitamin.
15. Get extra steps – A study at the University of Tennessee found individuals who walked an extra 4,000 to 5,000 steps each day lowered their blood pressure by 11 points.
16. Leafy greens and eggs – Both foods are good sources of lutein. Lutein is a phytochemical that helps carry antioxidants to your cells and tissue to support your heart health.
17. Cereal – You’ve seen the advertisements for a certain cereal promising to lower cholesterol and they’re true. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found two servings of whole-grain cereal a day can lower your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 20 percent.
18. Flavonoids – You’ll know if you’re deficient in flavonoids if you bruise easily, get nose bleeds often and get unusual swelling after suffering an injury. Eat more fruits and vegetable to get more flavonoids. You can also eat red beans or black beans to increase the flavonoids your body is getting.
19. Measure your blood pressure after a workout – Your blood pressure will be higher but you’ll get a better indication of your overall health.
20. Decaffeinate your Diet – Caffeine can increase blood pressure by close to 4 points and speed up your heart rate by an average of 2 beats per minute.
21. Make friends or join a group – The group you join or friends you make is as important as you just joining a group or making new friends. Studies show those who are lonely have more difficulty dealing with stress and are at a higher risk of heart disease than people with a bigger social circle.
22. Go for cocoa – Cocoa helps thin the blood and contains flavonoids and the fat in chocolate is the monounsaturated fat kind that’s good for your heart. But not any chocolate works, choose dark chocolate if you want it to help your heart.
23. Eat less salt – Plain and simple, salt increases your blood pressure because of the sodium so eat less sodium by reducing how much salt you put on your food while limiting your consumption of processed and packaged foods.
24. Touch more – Research from the University of North Carolina found 10 minutes of skin-to-skin contact helps to prevent your blood pressure and pulse from spiking during stress.
25. Eat more tomatoes – Lycopene in tomatoes helps prevent cholesterol from building up.
26. Get your B vitamins – A Cleveland Clinic study found men who got lower levels of B vitamins were more than twice as likely to develop heart disease as men with higher levels of B vitamins in their diet.
27. Take time for tuna – The Omega-3 fat in tuna help strengthen your heart while helping to lower blood pressure and prevent clotting. Omega-3 also helps reduce inflammation and it’s high in protein.
28. Add ground flaxseed – Don’t like all the fishiness that comes with eating fish; add ground flaxseed to your diet to get your Omega-3 fix.
29. Lose weight – This one’s obvious but should always be discussed if you’re overweight and need help to protect your heart. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease by as much as 40 percent.
30. Give rowing a chance – When compared to running, rowing wins. Rowing forces the body to use more muscle and makes the heart pump more blood through the body for improved cardiovascular protection.
31. Get your flu shot – A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported people who got their flu shot were 19 percent less likely to be hospitalized for heart disease than people who skipped the flu shot.
32. Drink more – Drinking five or more 8-ounce glasses of water a day has been shown to lower your risk of heart disease by up to 60 percent.
33. Eat grapefruit – Eating a grapefruit a day can reduce your arterial narrowing by as much as 46 percent, lower your bad cholesterol by 10 percent and drop your blood pressure by more than 5 points.
34. Go for garlic – Garlic is famous for helping boost the immune system and for lowering bad cholesterol, but it’s also been shown to help limit damage to the heart if you do suffer a heart attack or have to go through heart surgery.
35. Scramble an Egg – Eggs are a good source of betaine, a compound that helps lower homocysteine levels in the blood by as much as 75 percent.
36. Take chromium – Men with low levels of chromium are significantly more likely to develop heart problems according to research from Harvard. You actually need between 200 and 400 micrograms per day. Which is more than you can get from your typical daily diet. Look for a supplement with chromium picolinate.
37. Do more crunches – An interesting study conducted on 8,000 Canadians found those who could do the most sit ups in a minute were also the least likely to die from cardiovascular disease over a period of 13 years. Why? Stronger abdominal muscles mean less belly fat and a lower risk for heart disease.
38. Skip the double dip – Don’t double dip your pain medications. Heart patients taking aspirin with ibuprofen had almost 75 percent greater risk of premature death than those taking aspirin alone.
39. Pair up – Getting married has been shown to help reduce your risk for heart disease. Researchers found happily married men had happier hearts with lower blood pressure compared to single men in the same study.
40. Eat more beans – Beans are packed with folate to help lower homocysteine and soluble fiber to lower bad cholesterol levels.
41. Ginger and turmeric – These two spices are natural inflammatories, which means they’re good for your heart.
42. Wash your hands – German researchers followed 570 people for an average of 3 years and discovered those who washed their hands needed fewer antibodies (to fight off infection). Those with fewer antibodies also had less clogging in the arteries in their hearts, necks and legs.
43. Poetry – Reading poetry has been found as a way to lower your risk for heart disease as it lowers stress levels. A study in Switzerland found men who recited poetry for half an hour a day lowered their heart rate significantly.
44. Choose honey over sugar – At the University of Illinois, researches found the powerful antioxidants in honey help fight cardiovascular disease while sugar has been shown to lower good cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease.
45. Smile more – Harvard researchers studied 1,300 men for a decade. At the conclusion of the study, the men with the most positive attitudes at the start of the study were half as likely to experience heart problems compared to the men with negative attitudes.
46. Finish your degree – Researchers in California found women with a 4-year or advanced degree had a lower risk of heart disease compared to those with less education. The benefit comes as a result of earning more money.
47. Play hard – Even if for just 5 to 10 minutes, any vigorous activity helps reduce your risk of heart disease.
48. Don’t hold it – Did you know the stress of having a full bladder has been shown to increase your heart rate by 9 beats a minute while it also constricts blood flow by 19 percent.
49. Rotisserize – The rotisserie is a great way to cook food without producing glycation end products that can reduce cell elasticity and increase your heart disease risk. The lower heat cooked over a longer period of time helps prevent the end products from developing.
50. Get a dog – The ups and downs from love to frustration that comes with having a dog makes your heart more adaptable to different situations.
51. Bundle up – Staying warm when the weather takes a dramatic dip can help you reduce your heart attack risk. A study in France found when the temperature drops by more than 18 degrees Fahrenheit from one day to the next, there’s a 13 percent greater risk for a heart attack.
52. Eat more often – A study published in the British Medical Journal found people who eat six or more smaller meals a day can lower cholesterol by 5 percent compared to those eating just one or two large meals a day.
53. Lift – You can reduce your risk for heart disease by 23 percent if you just lift weights at least 30 minutes a week, according to Harvard researchers.
54. Brush and rinse – By brushing your teeth and using a bacteria-killing mouth rinse, you can decrease your risk for a heart attack by 200 to 300 percent because you’re killing the oral bacteria.
55. Eat more nuts – You can reduce your risk of heart disease by 30 percent simply by replacing your chips with an ounce of nuts according to Harvard researchers.
56. Get enough sleep – Getting 5 or fewer hours of sleep a night has been shown to increase your risk of heart disease by nearly 40 percent when compared getting 8 hours of sleep a night, according to a 10-year study of 70,000 women. People who are exhausted have higher levels of the blood clotting protein fibrinogen, which can dramatically reduce blood flow to the heart and brain.
57. Just say no to French fries – Exercise and nutritional habits of 80,000 women were recorded over a 14-year period, and the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found the most important factor that correlated to heart disease was the woman’s intake of trans fatty acids that lower HDL cholesterol and increase LDL cholesterol. And French fries seem to be one of the worst ways to add trans fat to our diet.
58. Take a Day Off – By missing a few days of work, you reduce your stress levels and shrink your risk for heart disease and stroke by 30 percent, according to a study conducted at State University in New York.
59. Have more sex – University of Bristol researchers found men who have sex at least twice a week are less likely to have a stroke than men who have sex less often and more sex can help cut down your risk for heart disease by as much as 33 percent.
60. Get your oats – Have high cholesterol? Eat more oats. A study conducted at the University of Connecticut found men with high cholesterol were able to reduce LDL cholesterol levels by more than 20 percent by eating oat-bran cookies daily for 8 weeks.
61. Get those wisdom teeth removed – Bacteria can collect around wisdom teeth and increase your risk for infections including periodontal disease, which has been linked to heart disease.
62. Eat more olive oil – Olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fats, eaten daily can reduce the risk of a fatal first heart attack by 82 percent.
63. Get your blood pressure under 120/80 – If you have high blood pressure, just cutting it down by 20 points off the top number and 10 points off the bottom number can cut your risk for heart disease in half.
64. Bananas can help – Foods loaded with potassium, like bananas, sweet potatoes or spinach, help keep your heart rate low.
65. Fiber up your appetizers – Taking a fiber supplement 15 minutes before meals slows digestion or highly processed starches and sweets to prevent such high spikes in blood sugar.
66. Reduce your BMI – Having a body-mass index of more than 25 can increase your heart disease risk by as much as 26 percent.
67. Get to know your arteries – You can get a more accurate indication of your individual risk for heart disease by getting your cholesterol levels checked and through blood testing.
68. Sleep soundly – Avoid loud noises while you sleep if you want to lower your risk for heart disease. Just 55 decibels during your night’s sleep can increase your blood pressure when compared to sleeping during 50 decibels of sound according to a German study.
69. Climb a mountain (or stair climber) – Researchers at Yale found men with insulin resistance who exercised on a stair climber or went hiking for 45 minutes 4 days a week improved their sensitivity to insulin by 43 percent in just 6 weeks.
70. Reach for an apple – Eating apples regularly can help reduce your risk for developing heart disease by as much as 20 much percent compared to men who eat apples less often.
71. Eat more fish – The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week. If you don’t like fish, try fish oil supplements instead to get the benefits that come with eating fish.
72. Push your workouts – Take your workouts to the next level and reduce your risk for heart disease by 28 percent according to Harvard Researchers.
73. Change your spread – Butter is just not better for your heart. Try a trans fat-free margarine spread instead to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
74. Choose whole wheat bread – The cholesterol-lowering fiber and nutrients in whole-wheat bread help keep your blood flowing.
75. Concord grapes – Compounds in Concord grapes help slow LDL cholesterol from forming while helping to lower blood pressure.
76. Roll up the windows – Pollutants make it harder for your heart to adjust to different types of activity.
77. Fresh grapes are great – A study at the University of Connecticut found fresh grapes help clean the arteries and lower cholesterol levels to protect against heart disease.
78. Avoid the yo-yo diets – When your weight fluctuates to frequently it puts stress on your heart and reduces blood flow. Once you lose weight, do what you can to keep it off for good.
79. Make some work friends – A St. Johns University study found men with the most friends at work had the lowest heart rates and healthiest blood pressure levels.
80. Eat more berries – Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries all come loaded with salicylic acid, so you can get the same benefit from berries you would from aspirin.
81. Listen to music in the morning – Your blood pressure surges in the morning but listening to music can help reduce it.
82. Jump on the bandwagon – Heart-attack rates fall when the team you’re rooting for wins. That euphoria of a win and stress reliever of leisure activities gives you a good combination for reducing your risk of heart disease.
83. Stop snoring – Sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, so if you’re snoring excessively, find out how your doctor can help.
84. Get more calcium – Vitamin C helps to lower blood pressure while research indicates increased Vitamin C plays a role in preventing heart disease.
85. More magnesium makes for a healthier heart – Magnesium deficiencies have been linked to most of the risk factors for heart disease including high blood pressure, elevated bad cholesterol and increased plaque buildup in the arteries.
86. Try getting acupuncture – Yes; acupuncture helps your heart by triggering endorphins that help the heart relax and help fight off stress.
87. Choose sesame seed oil – Men who replaced their vegetable and corn oil with sesame oil lowered their blood pressure by more than 30 points in 60 days, without making any other changes in their diets.
88. Get a rub down – Massage helps in multiple ways. Getting a massage relieves stress and reduces inflammation according to research from the University of Miami.