Exercise as well benefits the heart while having the added benefit of weight loss and strength gain.
According to a study conducted at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (2005), "The more fast-food restaurants in a neighbourhood, the higher the prevalence of cardiovascular disease or death" (Taggart 2005). Such outlets offer menus with foods extremely high in fat and cholesterol, therefore avoiding such foods can only be good for the heart and the body overall.
Eating more fish and fish oil, which increases omega-3 fats, and ingesting more fresh fruits and vegetables, will lower one's risk of heart disease (Massey 4). Although alcohol is looked upon by many as part of an unhealthy lifestyle and a decadent pleasure, wine has been found to have a beneficial affect on mortality for those individuals with CVD, as well. A 1995 study indicated that "there was a does-response relationship between the frequency of the intake of wine and mortality; the maximum effect was observed with a daily intake" (citing Gronbeak, et al.; Bygren, Carstensen, Engfeldt, & Theobald 652). Another decadent delight, chocolate, can have health benefits as well when eaten in moderation. It is the flavonoids in dark chocolate that appear to have some benefit on risk factors for cardiovascular disease when consumption is limited to approximately and ounce a day (Tufts 3).
A risk that is almost unavoidable ...
A risk that is almost unavoidable in today's industrial-age lifestyle is pollution. No matter where one lives, factories and vehicles have created air quality issues, and "several medical studies have suggested a link between air pollution and heart disease in people who are already at risk because of high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure" (Massey 4). Researchers discovered that this is because pollution combined with a high-fat diet results in a quicker build up of "atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries" (4).
Another enormous CVD risk is obesity and abdominal adiposity as reported in one recent study. Researchers determined that "a changing waist circumference affected the cardiometabolic riskboth waist and BMI change, together, were related to change in systolic blood pressure and hypertension" (Balkau, Fezeu, Picard, Vol, et al. 1901 & 1904).
A lifestyle conducive to a healthy heart is one that includes regular exercise and weight loss. "A person who leads a sedentary lifestyle is two times as likely to develop heart disease as an individual who is physically active" (Ebony 122). Aerobic exercise promotes cardiovascular fitness and can be accomplished through cycling, jogging, walking for extended periods of time, etc Other "heart-smart" activities include resistance training, "which increases strength, decreases body fat and helps regulate blood cholesterol.
With a change in lifestyle, including a healthy diet and regular exercise, the possibilities of reducing or eliminating cardiovascular disease is great. Unfortunately, lifestyle changes are difficult and take enormous will and commitment to successfully obtain. However, when individuals realize that a change in habit can dramatically lengthen their