There are two important areas to consider when it comes to preventing a first — or subsequent — heart attack. The first one is knowing your family history. Heart disease can have a genetic component and can cluster in families. If close relatives have had heart disease, this may put you at a higher risk for developing problems. Being aware of your family’s heart history and sharing that information with your doctor will allow you to work together to prevent a heart attack.
While you can’t control your family history, you can control another risk factor for heart attacks, and that is your lifestyle choices.
For instance, if you smoke, stop. If you drink alcohol in excess, limit it. Maintain a healthy weight. Exercise. All of these factors are within your control.
Choosing a heart-healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to give up all of your favorite meals, but it does mean you should consider controlling your portion sizes, eliminating processed foods (which are often loaded with unhealthy “trans” fats) and replacing saturated fats in your diet with the healthy ones.
A heart-healthy diet should include:
In addition to food choices, there are some other lifestyle changes you can make to improve your heart health. They include: