Let’s say you detected a lump in your breast. You’d probably call your gyno and have it checked out pronto. Yet we bet that you aren’t paying attention to another potential problem in your chest: your heart’s health.
But the fact is, you need to. Females are five times as likely to die from heart disease as they are from breast cancer. If you spent your teens and 20s cultivating heart-harmful habits, you can undo some of the damage by taking the right steps now.
Here are six moves to work into your routine today:
Stay Out of Smoky Spaces
Even if you don’t smoke, cigarette smoke from friends, roommates, or strangers at a club can put you at risk for heart attacks by causing your arteries to narrow over time.
Secondhand smoke can also trigger more immediate damage. “Just a few minutes of exposure has almost the same effect on your blood and blood vessels as if you were actively smoking,” explains Stanton Glantz, PhD, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California at San Francisco.
You want the kind called monosaturated fat. It lowers your level of bad cholesterol – the waxy, artery-plugging stuff that can bring on a heart attack. Foods loaded with monosaturated fat include peanut butter, avocados, nuts, and fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and anchovies, explains nutritionist Dave Grotto, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.