Three Ways to Protect Your Heart

1 in 4. That’s how many people die of heart disease. 25%. One-quarter. Think of three of your friends. One of you will die from heart disease. How’s THAT for a wake-up call? Fortunately, there are things you and your friends can do to beat the odds. Here are three important tips, from the researchers at Condé Nast Publications.

  • Let go of a grudge. A study from University College London found that frequent conflict in any relationship – whether it’s with your spouse, a family member or a friend – increases your risk for a heart attack by about 30%. Another study found that those who didn’t trust people had higher levels of C-reactive protein – an indication of inflammation of the heart. STAYING mad is also bad. Dr. Tim Smith, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, says the more frequent, more extreme and more long-lasting your negative feelings, the more they harm your heart. So let bygones be bygones.
  • Stop worrying about everything. Studies have linked anxiety and worry to cardiovascular trouble. That includes worrying about little things, like a clean house and cheating on your diet. Smith says negative emotions like anxiety increase blood pressure, and trigger the release of stress hormones. Those things damage the lining of the coronary arteries, which in turn makes you more susceptible to heart attacks. Experts say this kind of stress is more common among women, who tend to worry more than men.
  • Move a little more every day. Even if you’re at a healthy weight, not exercising is bad for your heart – period. In fact, a lack of physical activity is now listed as a MAJOR risk factor in the new guidelines from the American Heart Association. It’s in the same league with smoking and eating a high-fat diet! That’s because exercise strengthens your heart, lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol, and burns up your stress hormones before they can hurt your arteries. So make sure you get at least 30 minutes a day.

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