Heart disease is largely preventable: 5 science-backed ways to keep your heart healthy

MILWAUKEE -- February is American Heart Month -- so what better time than now to get your ticker in tip-top shape. Registered Dietitian Lisa Grudzielanek with Metcalfe’s Market joins Real Milwaukee with five ways you can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease.

About every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a heart attack. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. It's a staggering 1 in every 4 deaths. The good news is heart disease is largely preventable by practicing a healthy lifestyle. Registered dietitian, Lisa Grudzielanek with Metcalfe`s Market is back to share five science-backed habits to keep your heart healthy.

#1 Habit-- Eat Well
• A healthy diet is one of the best weapons you have to reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
• One ounce of nuts (almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts) daily reduced heart disease risk by 30%
• Eat fatty fish twice a week
o Fish such as wild salmon, herring, mackerel, sablefish (black cod), anchovies and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and reduce risk of dying from heart disease by 36%
o Omega 3 fatty acid reduces inflammation, which is the 'root cause of heart disease.
• Colorful vegetables contain helpful antioxidants that fight 'rusting' of the arteries.
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil is high in antioxidants, the main reason why so beneficial. In one major study participants that consume approx. 1 liter per week reduced heart attacks, strokes, and death by 30%.
• Limit sweetened drinks, refined carbohydrates, added sugars, and processed meats.

#2 Habit-- See Your Doc Regularly
• Talk about challenges in your life that may affect your health.
• Work closely with your health care team to manage high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or other conditions that put you at greater risk.

#3 Habit-- Sleep
• Sleep deprivation affects your heart. People who do not sleep are at higher risk of heart disease, regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits.
• Sleeping too little causes disruptions in circadian rhythm and biological processes. These increase blood pressure and inflammation.

#4 Habit-- Laugh Often
• Studies have noted a relationship between heart disease and stress in a person`s life that may affect risk factors for heart disease and stress.
• Stress may lead to overeating, smoking and unhealthy habits as a means of coping with stress.
• Laughter leaves muscle relaxed, increases blood flow & decreases stress hormones.

#5 Habit: Move More
• Sitting for long periods has been linked to heart disease. Sitting is the new smoking as it relates to the larger problem of inactivity.
• More television viewing, sedentary lifestyles lends to a higher risk of heart disease.
• 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight.
• Something is better than nothing. If you`re inactive now, start out slow and increase.