Healthy Heart Choices

      {} Stop smoking.

      {} Reduce your intake of fatty foods. A heart-healthy diet consists of 20 to 30 percent fat.

      {} Reduce your intake of red meat and remove fat when you do choose to eat meat. Protein should make up between 15 to percent of your total caloric intake.

      {} Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Carbohydrates should make up 50 to 65 percent of your total caloric intake.

      {} Reduce your intake of salt if you have high blood pressure.

      {} Exercise for 30 minutes, three times a week. Do not begin an exercise program without consulting your doctor and keep in mind that walking is a very healthy form of exercise which most people can do without risk.

      {} Reduce your intake of alcohol.

      {} Spend some time each day relaxing, not in front of the television, but at a hobby that requires your concentration, or at a physical activity you enjoy.

      {} Laugh more; it reduces stress.

      {} Get a physical exam! Some "silent" diseases, such as high blood pressure, can affect your heart.