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5 Worst Habits for Your Heart, Says Science

August 18, 2023

Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, and it is often caused by our everyday habits. Many people don’t take their heart health seriously until they start experiencing symptoms or have a heart attack. However, our lifestyle choices can have a significant impact on the health of our hearts, and unfortunately, there are habits that can hurt our heart health in the long term. By recognizing these worst habits for heart health and making changes in our lifestyle, we can help protect our hearts and reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s never too late to start taking care of your heart and making positive changes for your health and well-being.

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1. Smoking

person holding a smoking cigarette


Smoking is one of the worst habits for heart health. The nicotine in cigarettes can cause damage to the blood vessels, making them more likely to clog and increase your risk of heart disease. Smoking also raises blood pressure, heart rate and decreases the oxygen supply to the heart. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your heart health and overall well-being.

2. Eating a poor diet

woman picking up a piece of fried chicken from a plate


A poor diet, especially one high in saturated and trans fats, can contribute to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other risk factors for heart disease. Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is essential for maintaining heart health. Processed and fast foods should be avoided or limited. Instead, choose foods that are nutrient-dense and low in added sugars and unhealthy fats.

Related: 6 Food Swaps For a Healthier Heart

3. Sedentary lifestyle

man eating chips on couch with a beer


Regular physical activity is essential for good heart health. A sedentary lifestyle, on the other hand, can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and other risk factors for heart disease. It is recommended to engage in moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. This can include activities such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. Finding an activity that you enjoy can make it easier to stick to a regular exercise routine.

4. Excessive alcohol consumption

Drinking too much alcohol can damage the heart muscle and contribute to high blood pressure, making it one of the worst habits for heart health. Moderation is key when it comes to alcohol consumption. It is recommended not to exceed the recommended daily intake of alcohol, which is 1-2 drinks for men and 1 drink for women. It’s important to note that the definition of a “drink” can vary depending on the type of alcohol and the size of the serving.

5. Chronic stress

stressed man looking at laptop at work

Courtesy of Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Stress can contribute to high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or therapy, can help support heart health. It is important to recognize and manage stress in our daily life. This can include setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and seeking support from friends, family, or a professional if needed.

Read next: 7 Heart Healthy Dinner Recipes for a Healthy Ticker

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