Smoking, eating fatty food and drinking alcohol are the three most dangerous causes of heart failure.

If your blood pressure goes high, you are at risk.

If you have diabetes, you are at risk.

If all you do in your day is sit and watch TV, you are at risk.

There are various other scenarios, where you are at risk of having a stroke and dying, just because you didn’t take better care of your heart’s health.

One of the biggest risks is ignorance. Family history plays a huge role in your health. The older you get, the more problems you are going to encounter. Chances are; diseases that have been lying dormant for so many years will make an appearance as you grow old. While you can’t change your genetic makeup, you sure can take a few precautions to protect your heart’s health.

Following are five tips on how to maintain your heart health:

1.     Manage Your Weight

It’s time to make a few changes in your lifestyle. Being overweight is one of the biggest factors of heart disease. Calculate your BMI and if you fall in the “overweight” category, then you need to start following a diet plan. Being overweight also causes a number of other problems such as osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and sleep apnea. Introduce more fiber into your diet, around 30% and start eating more fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods, candies and especially junk food such as burgers and French fries.

2.     Start Exercising

To burn that excess body fat that’s causing all the problems, you need to include exercise in your daily routine. 20 minutes of exercise in the morning, before breakfast will not only help you lose weight faster but will also keep you energized all day long.

3.     Avoid Eating Salty Food

By cutting salt from your diet, you will be able to maintain your blood pressure quite easily. Adults are recommended to eat only 6g of salt, which amounts to a teaspoon. So, reduce the amount of salt you eat gradually. Add less salt in your food day after day until you are used to the taste of the food as it is. When buying canned food, make sure that you read the label and find out its sodium content. Ideally, 100g of food should contain 0.6g of sodium.

4.     Monitor Your Cholesterol

Invest in a home sugar test kit and a blood pressure checker machine and use them monthly. Get regular checkups to keep track of your cholesterol after you have changed your diet. This will help you make the necessary changes in your routine to keep your cholesterol level in control.

5.     Eat Fish

When planning your diet, include weekly fish meals in it. Fish such as fresh tuna, mackerel, salmon and sardines are good omega-3 fat sources that protect you from heart diseases. Moreover, fish contains fewer calories, so in turn; you will be able to manage your weight.

Use these five tips in your daily routine when planning your diet. Remember, consuming less calories and fatty foods is not enough. You need to start exercising to keep your muscles healthy and your body fit.