The health tips essentials to keep a man’s heart healthy

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Do you want to help a man in your life get more serious about heart health? Here are ways to keep a man’s heart healthy smarts you should know.

Men who read the health news know there is a long list of risk factors, besides smoking and excessive drinking, that can increase the chance of heart disease. Less well known are the added cardiac risks of taking anti-inflammatory pain relievers or large amounts of calcium from supplements.

When adding up the impact of various risk factors on millions of American men, the details are important. The effect of even a small added risk, applied to a large number of men, can result in thousands of extra heart attacks and strokes.

But for an individual man living his busy life, it’s best to keep it simple and focus on the steps that will have the most impact

1. Physical activity

Moderate regular exercise should be your goal. The standard recommendation calls for at least 30 minutes of physical activity on five days of the week. “The regularity is what’s important, not the intensity,” Dr. Kathiresan says. Countless studies have shown that measurable health boosts come from brisk daily walking, though cycling, swimming, and gym workouts are effective, too.

2. Body weight

Your goal is to attain and maintain a healthy weight. That means a body mass index (BMI)—the ratio of your weight to your height—between 18.5 and 25. For many American men, this has proved difficult to achieve, but the impact of being overweight is substantial. Consider this, Dr. Kathiresan says: Compared with men in the top 20% in body weight, those in the bottom 20% have half the cardiac risk.

3. Diet

Dr. Kathiresan endorses what he calls a “moderate” diet. It’s rich in healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables; moderate in whole grains, dairy, and beans and other legumes; and relatively low in animal protein. Focus on eating healthy foods rather than obsessively counting grams of fat, although do pay close attention to how much sodium you consume in your food.

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4. Stress

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Research suggests that excessive stress harms the cardiovascular system, “not just directly but indirectly because stress leads to unhealthy behaviors,” Dr. Kathiresan says. For example, stressed-out men tend to eat more and exercise less.

5. Cholesterol

High cholesterol is strongly associated with greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Keep total cholesterol below 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), LDL cholesterol below 100 mg/dL, and “good” protective HDL at 40 mg/dL or higher.

6. Blood pressure

If you have not been diagnosed with high blood pressure, strive to keep yours down around 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). If you have high blood pressure, get it below 140/90 mm Hg.

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