How to get a healthy heart: Determine your risk factor and make lifestyle changes accordingly. A copy of Joseph Piscatella and Barry Franklin's Prevent, Halt & Reverse Heart Disease: 109 Things You Can Do recently landed on my desk, and while I was browsing it I found handy tips to share with you. How to prevent heart-related illnesses Determine your risk factor Are you: • A smoker • Overweight • Have high cholesterol • Feel stressed out If you fall into any of the above categories, you may be at risk for heart-related illnesses. Now's the time to adjust your lifestyle to boost your heart health. How to boost your heart health 1. Quit smoking Did you know that 40% of cardiac deaths can be attributed to smoking? If you're a smoker, make an appointment with you family physician today to help you come up with an effective quitting plan. 2. Get moving Those who exercise regularly have less of a risk of suffering a heart attack than those who don't. Make exercise part of your day by going on a brisk walk with a friend, joining a sports team, taking the stairs at work, and lifting light weights to build strength. Regular exercise doesn't only reduce the risk of heart-related illnesses, but will help you lose weight and boost your mood. 3. Manage stress Stress can increase cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and if you're stressed out you're less likely to stick to your fitness and diet plans. Take some time to relax, whether that means taking a day off work, reading a book, watch a movie or going out with some palls. Taking the time to do something you enjoy will reduce your stress levels. Practicing yoga, meditation and regular stretching has also been proven to help reduce stress. Or, maybe it's time you finally book that dream vacation. 4. Eat well A balanced diet is key to a healthy heart. Piscatella and Franklin recommend: • Eating the right carbs (reduce refined carbs like cookies, cake, crackers) • Eating the right fats (avoid saturated and trans fats) • Eat less sodium (packaged, processed and fast foods are laden with sodium) • Eat less sugar Also: load up on fruits and veggies, high-fibre foods and drink lots of water, and watch your portion sizes. (Learn how to properly measure your portion sizes here.) Do you have any heart-health tips?