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With February being Heart Health Month, it’s a great time for a refresher on the habits that promote a healthy heart. This muscle’s steady thump is vital for pumping blood throughout the body, so the more healthy lifestyle habits you incorporate, the happier your heart will be.

As it stands, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States for both men and women, and it is, unfortunately, a disease which genetics can put you at a higher risk for. However, no matter what your genes say, you’re taking a momentous first step in keeping your heart healthy by reading this article, where we’ll outline heart-healthy habits that you can work on adopting this month (and then stick with for the rest of your life!)

We’ll dive into these soon, but first, let’s discuss if adopting these habits gives you a chance to override genetics.

Is Your Heart Health Written in The Stars?

Our genes are responsible for many things—the color of our eyes, our height, how extroverted we are. However, our risk for certain diseases, such as heart disease, has also been linked to our genes.

So, is heart disease inevitable for you if genetics deem it so? Science says no.

While your genetics may increase your risk of heart disease, they do not guarantee that you will have it. Research has shown that even when someone has a high genetic risk for heart disease, if they follow a favorable lifestyle (i.e., following the habits we’ll outline in the next section), their risk of heart disease is 50% lower than those with an unfavorable lifestyle.

All this is to say that even if your genes predispose you to heart disease, the actions and habits that you adopt hold tremendous power in your heart’s health.

Heart Health Habits

Now that we know just how powerful our habits can be in keeping our hearts healthy, let’s take a look at the habits we should focus on to keep our blood pumping.

Eat Healthy

We all know the importance of having a healthy and balanced diet, but your heart, in particular, can benefit from you choosing specific foods (and refraining from others).

Load up your plate with fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, lean animal proteins, and seafood.

However, limit sweetened drinks, alcohol, sodium, added sugars, processed grains, red meats, full-fat dairy, and tropical oils like coconut and palm. Additionally, for the sake of your heart, avoid partially hydrogenated oils and trans-fat, which may be found in fried foods and some commercially baked goods.

Get Active

We all know how vital workouts are for strengthening your muscles, and since your heart is a muscle, exercising can also help to strengthen it and keep it pumping steadily as you grow older.

As for how much exercise your heart needs, it’s recommended to aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (think gardening, social dancing, water aerobics) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (e.g., running, jumping rope, swimming) each week. You can also do a combination of both if you’d like.

Additionally, add some muscle-strengthening activities, like weight training, at least twice a week, and try to sit less throughout the day.

You don’t have to do a workout you dread or find boring, either. With all the options available that get your blood pumping, the best way to stick with this habit is by finding something you enjoy doing. Experiment until you find something you look forward to!

Quit Smoking

If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do to prevent heart disease. In fact, within just one year of quitting, your risk of heart disease will go down by half.

Many people know of smoking’s effects on the lungs but are less aware of its influence on your heart. However, smoking can make your blood thicken, which means your heart has to work harder to pump your blood. Additionally, smoking can cause clots to form, which may lead to a heart attack or stroke if they cause a blockage.

Along with getting support to quit and stick with it, some other keys to success include having a way to handle urges and lowering your stress levels (or finding a different way to handle the stress besides smoking).

Get Enough Sleep

Something you’ll undoubtedly hear all your life is the importance of getting enough sleep, which is also crucial when you want to protect your heart. This is because, when you sleep, your body can heal and repair cells, tissues, and, importantly, blood vessels.

Research has shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to problems with blood pressure, a silent contributor to heart disease, so make sure you prioritize enough sleep each night.

Lower Stress

Easier said than done, right? As much as we may wish for the cause of our stress to disappear—or hope that simply telling ourselves to calm down will be enough to get our stress levels to drop—the truth is that taking actionable steps to lower your stress is a much more successful method.

Unsure where to start? The following are some great ways to lower your stress:

  • Exercise
  • Listen to music
  • Try deep breathing or meditation
  • Learn some relaxation technique
  • Practice yoga
  • Watch a funny video
  • Take a walk
  • Chat with a friend

A Bonus: Increase Glutathione Levels

As the body’s master antioxidant, glutathione helps to neutralize free radicals, preventing oxidative stress which can otherwise contribute to heart disease. Additionally, glutathione ensures that the body produces nitric oxide, which is crucial for relaxing blood vessels and allowing blood to flow easily (keeping your heart from being overworked).

While the body produces glutathione naturally, this production declines as we age, so the body needs a little help to keep production high.

Some ways to boost glutathione, and protect your heart, include consuming dairy and sulfur-rich foods, exercising, and getting enough sleep. You can also give your body an extra boost by taking a glutathione-boosting supplement.

Original Glutathione Formula (OGF) contains the precursors your body needs to produce glutathione, allowing your natural production to increase and offering extra protection for your heart. When you combine the heart-healthy habits listed above with OGF, your heart is guaranteed to thank you for the extra love shown to it.



Khera AV, Emdin CA, Drake I, et al. Genetic Risk, Adherence to a Healthy Lifestyle, and Coronary Disease. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2016;375(24):2349-2358. doi:https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmoa1605086
‌Healthy for Good American Heart Association ® TIPS for SUCCESS Learn More at Heart.org/Lifes8. https://www.heart.org/-/media/Healthy-Living-Files/LE8-Fact-Sheets/LE8_Eat_Better_Fact_Sheet.pdf
HOW to BE MORE ACTIVE Learn More at Heart.org/Lifes8 TIPS for SUCCESS. https://www.heart.org/-/media/Healthy-Living-Files/LE8-Fact-Sheets/LE8_How_to_be_More_Active.pdf
‌CDC. How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart Health? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published September 6, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/sleep.htm
‌Matuz-Mares, D., Riveros-Rosas, H., Vilchis-Landeros, M. M., & Vázquez-Meza, H. (2021). Glutathione Participation in the Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 10(8), 1220. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10081220
FastStats – Leading Causes of Death. Published 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm
‌CDCTobaccoFree. Benefits of Quitting. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published July 26, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/how_to_quit/benefits/index.htm
‌Zhang PY, Xu X, Li XC. Cardiovascular diseases: oxidative damage and antioxidant protection. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2014;18(20):3091-3096.




























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