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Healthier Diets Linked to Lower Premature Death Rates in U.S.


A new study found that healthy eating has prevented 1.1 million premature deaths in the last 20 years

Shutterstock/ Photographee.eu

A healthy diet can protect you against a variety of diseases, from obesity to hypertension.

Proper nutrition not only boosts your overall health, it is crucial for staving off the many chronic diseases that affect our population today. Instead, we find ourselves battling so-called “lifestyle diseases”, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. The choices you make every day — from deciding to have a pastry for breakfast instead of a smoothie, to skipping your workout in favor of a Netflix marathon — contribute to the development of these diseases. While these conditions are extremely prevalent, they’re also completely preventable. And the best preventative happens to be a healthy diet.

A new study published in the journal Health Affairs stresses the importance of maintaining a good diet. Researchers examined how the American diet evolved between 1992 and 2012, and how that change impacted the rate of premature deaths in the country. They looked at data relating trends in dietary quality to health outcomes in two large cohorts and estimated that healthy eating was responsible for preventing 1.1 million premature deaths during those 20 years. They also found that there were lower cases of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer among the participants.

Although this is good news for the health nuts out there, there is a downside. Using a scale of zero to 110, with 110 being the healthiest, the researchers found that most Americans’ diets rated below 50. It turns out that healthy eaters are the exception, not the rule. The researchers call for expanded health education initiatives and federal policies to encourage more Americans to adopt a healthier lifestyle. “Policy initiatives are urgently needed to address other healthy eating components to maintain and accelerate improvements in diet,” the study authors concluded.

In the interim, you can easily take your health into your own hands by making several lifestyle changes. It takes years for policies to be implemented, but making small modifications every day can have a big impact in your immediate future. Try substituting the sandwich you typically have for lunch with a salad. Carry around a 16-ounce reusable water bottle and commit to drinking and refilling it twice by noon. Prepare and freeze dinners for the week on Sunday and plan to order out as little as possible. Choose one of these ideas and try to put it into action for an entire week. Then, see if you can incorporate another the next week. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

The accompanying slideshow is provided by fellow Daily Meal editorial staff member Lauren Gordon.


Lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk

Nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as insufficient exercise, poor diet, and smoking. These risk factors increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference. In a study analyzing over 55,000 people, those with favorable lifestyle habits such as not smoking, not being obese, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet lowered their heart disease risk by nearly 50%.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently published guidelines detailing lifestyle and behavioral recommendations to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in those who do not yet have it. The guidelines addressed diet and nutrition, exercise and physical activity, body weight, and tobacco use. They draw from existing evidence that healthier lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of premature death and disability due to heart disease.

The ACC/AHA guidelines included specific dietary recommendations such as eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish. They also recommend limiting sodium, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, sweetened beverages, and processed meats, and omitting trans fats.

What other lifestyle changes can I make to lower my risk of heart disease?

A healthy lifestyle involves a range of healthy behaviors. One way to think about heart disease risks and corresponding lifestyle changes is the acronym ABCDES:

Alcohol
Blood pressure
Cholesterol
Diabetes
Exercise
Smoking

Let’s go through each of these elements.

Avoid alcohol in excess

While the benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption is somewhat controversial, excessive alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk for death, heart disease, and liver disease. Studies show harm occurs when individuals consume more than 100 grams of alcohol, or about 7 drinks, per week. A standard drink — 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits — contains 14 grams of alcohol.

Which diet can lower blood pressure?

Following a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, can help to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet is specifically designed to lower blood pressure. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. These foods are typically high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Studies suggest that the DASH diet can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by about 8 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by about 4 mm Hg, and reduce mortality.

How can I lower cholesterol?

Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and is associated with higher risk of death. While genetics play a role, excessive weight, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and excessive alcohol intake also contribute to high cholesterol.

Research suggests that reducing saturated fat in the diet and replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may lower cardiovascular risk. This means replacing butter, coconut oil, palm oil, shortening, or lard with olive, safflower, canola, corn, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oils.

The Mediterranean diet has been found to lower cholesterol and reduce CVD risk. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, with limited consumption of red meat and sweets. Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat.

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and mackerel, also helps to reduce heart disease risk.

How can I reduce my risk for diabetes?

Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help. For example, if you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and engaging in 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.

Healthy diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, and plant-based diets emphasizing foods higher in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in glycemic load and saturated fats, are also recommended.

How much exercise do I need?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend that all adults ages 18 to 64 engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week — or an equivalent mix of the two. Activities such as brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, and other aerobic exercises are all good options.

As a general rule, being active is better than being sedentary. For example, taking at least 4,400 steps daily is associated with lower risk of death than taking only 2,700 steps per day.

How bad is smoking for my health?

Smokers have a higher heart disease risk than never-smokers, and two to three times the risk of death. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of death.

Quit-smoking medications like varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Wellbutrin), and nicotine replacement therapies, are generally safe and can effectively help people quit smoking.


Lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk

Nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as insufficient exercise, poor diet, and smoking. These risk factors increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference. In a study analyzing over 55,000 people, those with favorable lifestyle habits such as not smoking, not being obese, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet lowered their heart disease risk by nearly 50%.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently published guidelines detailing lifestyle and behavioral recommendations to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in those who do not yet have it. The guidelines addressed diet and nutrition, exercise and physical activity, body weight, and tobacco use. They draw from existing evidence that healthier lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of premature death and disability due to heart disease.

The ACC/AHA guidelines included specific dietary recommendations such as eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish. They also recommend limiting sodium, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, sweetened beverages, and processed meats, and omitting trans fats.

What other lifestyle changes can I make to lower my risk of heart disease?

A healthy lifestyle involves a range of healthy behaviors. One way to think about heart disease risks and corresponding lifestyle changes is the acronym ABCDES:

Alcohol
Blood pressure
Cholesterol
Diabetes
Exercise
Smoking

Let’s go through each of these elements.

Avoid alcohol in excess

While the benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption is somewhat controversial, excessive alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk for death, heart disease, and liver disease. Studies show harm occurs when individuals consume more than 100 grams of alcohol, or about 7 drinks, per week. A standard drink — 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits — contains 14 grams of alcohol.

Which diet can lower blood pressure?

Following a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, can help to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet is specifically designed to lower blood pressure. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. These foods are typically high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Studies suggest that the DASH diet can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by about 8 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by about 4 mm Hg, and reduce mortality.

How can I lower cholesterol?

Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and is associated with higher risk of death. While genetics play a role, excessive weight, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and excessive alcohol intake also contribute to high cholesterol.

Research suggests that reducing saturated fat in the diet and replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may lower cardiovascular risk. This means replacing butter, coconut oil, palm oil, shortening, or lard with olive, safflower, canola, corn, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oils.

The Mediterranean diet has been found to lower cholesterol and reduce CVD risk. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, with limited consumption of red meat and sweets. Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat.

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and mackerel, also helps to reduce heart disease risk.

How can I reduce my risk for diabetes?

Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help. For example, if you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and engaging in 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.

Healthy diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, and plant-based diets emphasizing foods higher in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in glycemic load and saturated fats, are also recommended.

How much exercise do I need?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend that all adults ages 18 to 64 engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week — or an equivalent mix of the two. Activities such as brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, and other aerobic exercises are all good options.

As a general rule, being active is better than being sedentary. For example, taking at least 4,400 steps daily is associated with lower risk of death than taking only 2,700 steps per day.

How bad is smoking for my health?

Smokers have a higher heart disease risk than never-smokers, and two to three times the risk of death. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of death.

Quit-smoking medications like varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Wellbutrin), and nicotine replacement therapies, are generally safe and can effectively help people quit smoking.


Lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk

Nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as insufficient exercise, poor diet, and smoking. These risk factors increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference. In a study analyzing over 55,000 people, those with favorable lifestyle habits such as not smoking, not being obese, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet lowered their heart disease risk by nearly 50%.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently published guidelines detailing lifestyle and behavioral recommendations to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in those who do not yet have it. The guidelines addressed diet and nutrition, exercise and physical activity, body weight, and tobacco use. They draw from existing evidence that healthier lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of premature death and disability due to heart disease.

The ACC/AHA guidelines included specific dietary recommendations such as eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish. They also recommend limiting sodium, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, sweetened beverages, and processed meats, and omitting trans fats.

What other lifestyle changes can I make to lower my risk of heart disease?

A healthy lifestyle involves a range of healthy behaviors. One way to think about heart disease risks and corresponding lifestyle changes is the acronym ABCDES:

Alcohol
Blood pressure
Cholesterol
Diabetes
Exercise
Smoking

Let’s go through each of these elements.

Avoid alcohol in excess

While the benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption is somewhat controversial, excessive alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk for death, heart disease, and liver disease. Studies show harm occurs when individuals consume more than 100 grams of alcohol, or about 7 drinks, per week. A standard drink — 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits — contains 14 grams of alcohol.

Which diet can lower blood pressure?

Following a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, can help to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet is specifically designed to lower blood pressure. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. These foods are typically high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Studies suggest that the DASH diet can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by about 8 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by about 4 mm Hg, and reduce mortality.

How can I lower cholesterol?

Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and is associated with higher risk of death. While genetics play a role, excessive weight, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and excessive alcohol intake also contribute to high cholesterol.

Research suggests that reducing saturated fat in the diet and replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may lower cardiovascular risk. This means replacing butter, coconut oil, palm oil, shortening, or lard with olive, safflower, canola, corn, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oils.

The Mediterranean diet has been found to lower cholesterol and reduce CVD risk. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, with limited consumption of red meat and sweets. Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat.

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and mackerel, also helps to reduce heart disease risk.

How can I reduce my risk for diabetes?

Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help. For example, if you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and engaging in 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.

Healthy diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, and plant-based diets emphasizing foods higher in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in glycemic load and saturated fats, are also recommended.

How much exercise do I need?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend that all adults ages 18 to 64 engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week — or an equivalent mix of the two. Activities such as brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, and other aerobic exercises are all good options.

As a general rule, being active is better than being sedentary. For example, taking at least 4,400 steps daily is associated with lower risk of death than taking only 2,700 steps per day.

How bad is smoking for my health?

Smokers have a higher heart disease risk than never-smokers, and two to three times the risk of death. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of death.

Quit-smoking medications like varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Wellbutrin), and nicotine replacement therapies, are generally safe and can effectively help people quit smoking.


Lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk

Nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as insufficient exercise, poor diet, and smoking. These risk factors increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference. In a study analyzing over 55,000 people, those with favorable lifestyle habits such as not smoking, not being obese, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet lowered their heart disease risk by nearly 50%.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently published guidelines detailing lifestyle and behavioral recommendations to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in those who do not yet have it. The guidelines addressed diet and nutrition, exercise and physical activity, body weight, and tobacco use. They draw from existing evidence that healthier lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of premature death and disability due to heart disease.

The ACC/AHA guidelines included specific dietary recommendations such as eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish. They also recommend limiting sodium, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, sweetened beverages, and processed meats, and omitting trans fats.

What other lifestyle changes can I make to lower my risk of heart disease?

A healthy lifestyle involves a range of healthy behaviors. One way to think about heart disease risks and corresponding lifestyle changes is the acronym ABCDES:

Alcohol
Blood pressure
Cholesterol
Diabetes
Exercise
Smoking

Let’s go through each of these elements.

Avoid alcohol in excess

While the benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption is somewhat controversial, excessive alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk for death, heart disease, and liver disease. Studies show harm occurs when individuals consume more than 100 grams of alcohol, or about 7 drinks, per week. A standard drink — 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits — contains 14 grams of alcohol.

Which diet can lower blood pressure?

Following a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, can help to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet is specifically designed to lower blood pressure. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. These foods are typically high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Studies suggest that the DASH diet can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by about 8 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by about 4 mm Hg, and reduce mortality.

How can I lower cholesterol?

Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and is associated with higher risk of death. While genetics play a role, excessive weight, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and excessive alcohol intake also contribute to high cholesterol.

Research suggests that reducing saturated fat in the diet and replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may lower cardiovascular risk. This means replacing butter, coconut oil, palm oil, shortening, or lard with olive, safflower, canola, corn, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oils.

The Mediterranean diet has been found to lower cholesterol and reduce CVD risk. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, with limited consumption of red meat and sweets. Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat.

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and mackerel, also helps to reduce heart disease risk.

How can I reduce my risk for diabetes?

Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help. For example, if you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and engaging in 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.

Healthy diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, and plant-based diets emphasizing foods higher in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in glycemic load and saturated fats, are also recommended.

How much exercise do I need?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend that all adults ages 18 to 64 engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week — or an equivalent mix of the two. Activities such as brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, and other aerobic exercises are all good options.

As a general rule, being active is better than being sedentary. For example, taking at least 4,400 steps daily is associated with lower risk of death than taking only 2,700 steps per day.

How bad is smoking for my health?

Smokers have a higher heart disease risk than never-smokers, and two to three times the risk of death. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of death.

Quit-smoking medications like varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Wellbutrin), and nicotine replacement therapies, are generally safe and can effectively help people quit smoking.


Lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk

Nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as insufficient exercise, poor diet, and smoking. These risk factors increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference. In a study analyzing over 55,000 people, those with favorable lifestyle habits such as not smoking, not being obese, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet lowered their heart disease risk by nearly 50%.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently published guidelines detailing lifestyle and behavioral recommendations to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in those who do not yet have it. The guidelines addressed diet and nutrition, exercise and physical activity, body weight, and tobacco use. They draw from existing evidence that healthier lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of premature death and disability due to heart disease.

The ACC/AHA guidelines included specific dietary recommendations such as eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish. They also recommend limiting sodium, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, sweetened beverages, and processed meats, and omitting trans fats.

What other lifestyle changes can I make to lower my risk of heart disease?

A healthy lifestyle involves a range of healthy behaviors. One way to think about heart disease risks and corresponding lifestyle changes is the acronym ABCDES:

Alcohol
Blood pressure
Cholesterol
Diabetes
Exercise
Smoking

Let’s go through each of these elements.

Avoid alcohol in excess

While the benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption is somewhat controversial, excessive alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk for death, heart disease, and liver disease. Studies show harm occurs when individuals consume more than 100 grams of alcohol, or about 7 drinks, per week. A standard drink — 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits — contains 14 grams of alcohol.

Which diet can lower blood pressure?

Following a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, can help to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet is specifically designed to lower blood pressure. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. These foods are typically high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Studies suggest that the DASH diet can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by about 8 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by about 4 mm Hg, and reduce mortality.

How can I lower cholesterol?

Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and is associated with higher risk of death. While genetics play a role, excessive weight, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and excessive alcohol intake also contribute to high cholesterol.

Research suggests that reducing saturated fat in the diet and replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may lower cardiovascular risk. This means replacing butter, coconut oil, palm oil, shortening, or lard with olive, safflower, canola, corn, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oils.

The Mediterranean diet has been found to lower cholesterol and reduce CVD risk. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, with limited consumption of red meat and sweets. Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat.

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and mackerel, also helps to reduce heart disease risk.

How can I reduce my risk for diabetes?

Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help. For example, if you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and engaging in 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.

Healthy diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, and plant-based diets emphasizing foods higher in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in glycemic load and saturated fats, are also recommended.

How much exercise do I need?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend that all adults ages 18 to 64 engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week — or an equivalent mix of the two. Activities such as brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, and other aerobic exercises are all good options.

As a general rule, being active is better than being sedentary. For example, taking at least 4,400 steps daily is associated with lower risk of death than taking only 2,700 steps per day.

How bad is smoking for my health?

Smokers have a higher heart disease risk than never-smokers, and two to three times the risk of death. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of death.

Quit-smoking medications like varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Wellbutrin), and nicotine replacement therapies, are generally safe and can effectively help people quit smoking.


Lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk

Nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as insufficient exercise, poor diet, and smoking. These risk factors increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference. In a study analyzing over 55,000 people, those with favorable lifestyle habits such as not smoking, not being obese, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet lowered their heart disease risk by nearly 50%.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently published guidelines detailing lifestyle and behavioral recommendations to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in those who do not yet have it. The guidelines addressed diet and nutrition, exercise and physical activity, body weight, and tobacco use. They draw from existing evidence that healthier lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of premature death and disability due to heart disease.

The ACC/AHA guidelines included specific dietary recommendations such as eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish. They also recommend limiting sodium, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, sweetened beverages, and processed meats, and omitting trans fats.

What other lifestyle changes can I make to lower my risk of heart disease?

A healthy lifestyle involves a range of healthy behaviors. One way to think about heart disease risks and corresponding lifestyle changes is the acronym ABCDES:

Alcohol
Blood pressure
Cholesterol
Diabetes
Exercise
Smoking

Let’s go through each of these elements.

Avoid alcohol in excess

While the benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption is somewhat controversial, excessive alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk for death, heart disease, and liver disease. Studies show harm occurs when individuals consume more than 100 grams of alcohol, or about 7 drinks, per week. A standard drink — 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits — contains 14 grams of alcohol.

Which diet can lower blood pressure?

Following a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, can help to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet is specifically designed to lower blood pressure. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. These foods are typically high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Studies suggest that the DASH diet can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by about 8 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by about 4 mm Hg, and reduce mortality.

How can I lower cholesterol?

Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and is associated with higher risk of death. While genetics play a role, excessive weight, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and excessive alcohol intake also contribute to high cholesterol.

Research suggests that reducing saturated fat in the diet and replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may lower cardiovascular risk. This means replacing butter, coconut oil, palm oil, shortening, or lard with olive, safflower, canola, corn, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oils.

The Mediterranean diet has been found to lower cholesterol and reduce CVD risk. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, with limited consumption of red meat and sweets. Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat.

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and mackerel, also helps to reduce heart disease risk.

How can I reduce my risk for diabetes?

Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help. For example, if you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and engaging in 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.

Healthy diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, and plant-based diets emphasizing foods higher in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in glycemic load and saturated fats, are also recommended.

How much exercise do I need?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend that all adults ages 18 to 64 engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week — or an equivalent mix of the two. Activities such as brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, and other aerobic exercises are all good options.

As a general rule, being active is better than being sedentary. For example, taking at least 4,400 steps daily is associated with lower risk of death than taking only 2,700 steps per day.

How bad is smoking for my health?

Smokers have a higher heart disease risk than never-smokers, and two to three times the risk of death. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of death.

Quit-smoking medications like varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Wellbutrin), and nicotine replacement therapies, are generally safe and can effectively help people quit smoking.


Lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk

Nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as insufficient exercise, poor diet, and smoking. These risk factors increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference. In a study analyzing over 55,000 people, those with favorable lifestyle habits such as not smoking, not being obese, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet lowered their heart disease risk by nearly 50%.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently published guidelines detailing lifestyle and behavioral recommendations to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in those who do not yet have it. The guidelines addressed diet and nutrition, exercise and physical activity, body weight, and tobacco use. They draw from existing evidence that healthier lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of premature death and disability due to heart disease.

The ACC/AHA guidelines included specific dietary recommendations such as eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish. They also recommend limiting sodium, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, sweetened beverages, and processed meats, and omitting trans fats.

What other lifestyle changes can I make to lower my risk of heart disease?

A healthy lifestyle involves a range of healthy behaviors. One way to think about heart disease risks and corresponding lifestyle changes is the acronym ABCDES:

Alcohol
Blood pressure
Cholesterol
Diabetes
Exercise
Smoking

Let’s go through each of these elements.

Avoid alcohol in excess

While the benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption is somewhat controversial, excessive alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk for death, heart disease, and liver disease. Studies show harm occurs when individuals consume more than 100 grams of alcohol, or about 7 drinks, per week. A standard drink — 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits — contains 14 grams of alcohol.

Which diet can lower blood pressure?

Following a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, can help to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet is specifically designed to lower blood pressure. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. These foods are typically high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Studies suggest that the DASH diet can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by about 8 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by about 4 mm Hg, and reduce mortality.

How can I lower cholesterol?

Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and is associated with higher risk of death. While genetics play a role, excessive weight, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and excessive alcohol intake also contribute to high cholesterol.

Research suggests that reducing saturated fat in the diet and replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may lower cardiovascular risk. This means replacing butter, coconut oil, palm oil, shortening, or lard with olive, safflower, canola, corn, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oils.

The Mediterranean diet has been found to lower cholesterol and reduce CVD risk. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, with limited consumption of red meat and sweets. Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat.

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and mackerel, also helps to reduce heart disease risk.

How can I reduce my risk for diabetes?

Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help. For example, if you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and engaging in 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.

Healthy diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, and plant-based diets emphasizing foods higher in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in glycemic load and saturated fats, are also recommended.

How much exercise do I need?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend that all adults ages 18 to 64 engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week — or an equivalent mix of the two. Activities such as brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, and other aerobic exercises are all good options.

As a general rule, being active is better than being sedentary. For example, taking at least 4,400 steps daily is associated with lower risk of death than taking only 2,700 steps per day.

How bad is smoking for my health?

Smokers have a higher heart disease risk than never-smokers, and two to three times the risk of death. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of death.

Quit-smoking medications like varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Wellbutrin), and nicotine replacement therapies, are generally safe and can effectively help people quit smoking.


Lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk

Nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as insufficient exercise, poor diet, and smoking. These risk factors increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference. In a study analyzing over 55,000 people, those with favorable lifestyle habits such as not smoking, not being obese, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet lowered their heart disease risk by nearly 50%.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently published guidelines detailing lifestyle and behavioral recommendations to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in those who do not yet have it. The guidelines addressed diet and nutrition, exercise and physical activity, body weight, and tobacco use. They draw from existing evidence that healthier lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of premature death and disability due to heart disease.

The ACC/AHA guidelines included specific dietary recommendations such as eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish. They also recommend limiting sodium, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, sweetened beverages, and processed meats, and omitting trans fats.

What other lifestyle changes can I make to lower my risk of heart disease?

A healthy lifestyle involves a range of healthy behaviors. One way to think about heart disease risks and corresponding lifestyle changes is the acronym ABCDES:

Alcohol
Blood pressure
Cholesterol
Diabetes
Exercise
Smoking

Let’s go through each of these elements.

Avoid alcohol in excess

While the benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption is somewhat controversial, excessive alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk for death, heart disease, and liver disease. Studies show harm occurs when individuals consume more than 100 grams of alcohol, or about 7 drinks, per week. A standard drink — 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits — contains 14 grams of alcohol.

Which diet can lower blood pressure?

Following a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, can help to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet is specifically designed to lower blood pressure. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. These foods are typically high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Studies suggest that the DASH diet can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by about 8 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by about 4 mm Hg, and reduce mortality.

How can I lower cholesterol?

Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and is associated with higher risk of death. While genetics play a role, excessive weight, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and excessive alcohol intake also contribute to high cholesterol.

Research suggests that reducing saturated fat in the diet and replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may lower cardiovascular risk. This means replacing butter, coconut oil, palm oil, shortening, or lard with olive, safflower, canola, corn, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oils.

The Mediterranean diet has been found to lower cholesterol and reduce CVD risk. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, with limited consumption of red meat and sweets. Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat.

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and mackerel, also helps to reduce heart disease risk.

How can I reduce my risk for diabetes?

Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help. For example, if you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and engaging in 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.

Healthy diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, and plant-based diets emphasizing foods higher in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in glycemic load and saturated fats, are also recommended.

How much exercise do I need?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend that all adults ages 18 to 64 engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week — or an equivalent mix of the two. Activities such as brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, and other aerobic exercises are all good options.

As a general rule, being active is better than being sedentary. For example, taking at least 4,400 steps daily is associated with lower risk of death than taking only 2,700 steps per day.

How bad is smoking for my health?

Smokers have a higher heart disease risk than never-smokers, and two to three times the risk of death. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of death.

Quit-smoking medications like varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Wellbutrin), and nicotine replacement therapies, are generally safe and can effectively help people quit smoking.


Lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk

Nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as insufficient exercise, poor diet, and smoking. These risk factors increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference. In a study analyzing over 55,000 people, those with favorable lifestyle habits such as not smoking, not being obese, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet lowered their heart disease risk by nearly 50%.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently published guidelines detailing lifestyle and behavioral recommendations to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in those who do not yet have it. The guidelines addressed diet and nutrition, exercise and physical activity, body weight, and tobacco use. They draw from existing evidence that healthier lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of premature death and disability due to heart disease.

The ACC/AHA guidelines included specific dietary recommendations such as eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish. They also recommend limiting sodium, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, sweetened beverages, and processed meats, and omitting trans fats.

What other lifestyle changes can I make to lower my risk of heart disease?

A healthy lifestyle involves a range of healthy behaviors. One way to think about heart disease risks and corresponding lifestyle changes is the acronym ABCDES:

Alcohol
Blood pressure
Cholesterol
Diabetes
Exercise
Smoking

Let’s go through each of these elements.

Avoid alcohol in excess

While the benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption is somewhat controversial, excessive alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk for death, heart disease, and liver disease. Studies show harm occurs when individuals consume more than 100 grams of alcohol, or about 7 drinks, per week. A standard drink — 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits — contains 14 grams of alcohol.

Which diet can lower blood pressure?

Following a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, can help to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet is specifically designed to lower blood pressure. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. These foods are typically high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Studies suggest that the DASH diet can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by about 8 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by about 4 mm Hg, and reduce mortality.

How can I lower cholesterol?

Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and is associated with higher risk of death. While genetics play a role, excessive weight, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and excessive alcohol intake also contribute to high cholesterol.

Research suggests that reducing saturated fat in the diet and replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may lower cardiovascular risk. This means replacing butter, coconut oil, palm oil, shortening, or lard with olive, safflower, canola, corn, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oils.

The Mediterranean diet has been found to lower cholesterol and reduce CVD risk. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, with limited consumption of red meat and sweets. Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat.

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and mackerel, also helps to reduce heart disease risk.

How can I reduce my risk for diabetes?

Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help. For example, if you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and engaging in 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.

Healthy diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, and plant-based diets emphasizing foods higher in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in glycemic load and saturated fats, are also recommended.

How much exercise do I need?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend that all adults ages 18 to 64 engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week — or an equivalent mix of the two. Activities such as brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, and other aerobic exercises are all good options.

As a general rule, being active is better than being sedentary. For example, taking at least 4,400 steps daily is associated with lower risk of death than taking only 2,700 steps per day.

How bad is smoking for my health?

Smokers have a higher heart disease risk than never-smokers, and two to three times the risk of death. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of death.

Quit-smoking medications like varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Wellbutrin), and nicotine replacement therapies, are generally safe and can effectively help people quit smoking.


Lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk

Nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as insufficient exercise, poor diet, and smoking. These risk factors increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference. In a study analyzing over 55,000 people, those with favorable lifestyle habits such as not smoking, not being obese, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet lowered their heart disease risk by nearly 50%.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently published guidelines detailing lifestyle and behavioral recommendations to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in those who do not yet have it. The guidelines addressed diet and nutrition, exercise and physical activity, body weight, and tobacco use. They draw from existing evidence that healthier lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of premature death and disability due to heart disease.

The ACC/AHA guidelines included specific dietary recommendations such as eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish. They also recommend limiting sodium, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, sweetened beverages, and processed meats, and omitting trans fats.

What other lifestyle changes can I make to lower my risk of heart disease?

A healthy lifestyle involves a range of healthy behaviors. One way to think about heart disease risks and corresponding lifestyle changes is the acronym ABCDES:

Alcohol
Blood pressure
Cholesterol
Diabetes
Exercise
Smoking

Let’s go through each of these elements.

Avoid alcohol in excess

While the benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption is somewhat controversial, excessive alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk for death, heart disease, and liver disease. Studies show harm occurs when individuals consume more than 100 grams of alcohol, or about 7 drinks, per week. A standard drink — 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits — contains 14 grams of alcohol.

Which diet can lower blood pressure?

Following a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, can help to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet is specifically designed to lower blood pressure. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. These foods are typically high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Studies suggest that the DASH diet can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by about 8 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by about 4 mm Hg, and reduce mortality.

How can I lower cholesterol?

Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and is associated with higher risk of death. While genetics play a role, excessive weight, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and excessive alcohol intake also contribute to high cholesterol.

Research suggests that reducing saturated fat in the diet and replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may lower cardiovascular risk. This means replacing butter, coconut oil, palm oil, shortening, or lard with olive, safflower, canola, corn, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oils.

The Mediterranean diet has been found to lower cholesterol and reduce CVD risk. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, with limited consumption of red meat and sweets. Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat.

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and mackerel, also helps to reduce heart disease risk.

How can I reduce my risk for diabetes?

Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help. For example, if you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and engaging in 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.

Healthy diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, and plant-based diets emphasizing foods higher in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in glycemic load and saturated fats, are also recommended.

How much exercise do I need?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend that all adults ages 18 to 64 engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week — or an equivalent mix of the two. Activities such as brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, and other aerobic exercises are all good options.

As a general rule, being active is better than being sedentary. For example, taking at least 4,400 steps daily is associated with lower risk of death than taking only 2,700 steps per day.

How bad is smoking for my health?

Smokers have a higher heart disease risk than never-smokers, and two to three times the risk of death. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of death.

Quit-smoking medications like varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Wellbutrin), and nicotine replacement therapies, are generally safe and can effectively help people quit smoking.