02/24/2014 10:37 am ET Updated Feb 24, 2014

Healthy Behaviors That Can Prevent Heart Disease, From Sharon Mulvagh, MD (VIDEO)

Mayo Clinic cardiologist Sharon Mulvagh, MD, had some excellent statistics and tips to share with us about healthy behaviors that can prevent heart disease.

In recent years, the number of deaths that are caused by heart disease has decreased due to advances in technology. However, even though the number of cardiovascular deaths is decreasing, women are still more susceptible than men when it comes to heart disease.

This overall decrease in cardiovascular disease-related deaths is not because we are preventing the disease, however, as statistics on the risk factor index are actually increasing due to unhealthy lifestyles.

In some groups, particularly in younger women ages 35-55, the occurrence of heart attacks is actually increasing due to unhealthy lifestyle habits. The good news is that there are preventative lifestyle habits women can adopt to prevent heart disease.

According to Dr. Mulvagh, there are four healthy behaviors to follow:
First, eat a healthy diet that is rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, low-fat sources of protein and a moderate amount of whole grain carbohydrates.

Next, it is important to stay physically active. For someone who is at his or her ideal weight, Dr. Mulvagh recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week. For someone trying to lose weight, this means one hour of exercise most days of the week.

Third, Dr. Mulvagh stresses the importance of being at a healthy body weight and having healthy BMI numbers.
Finally, Dr. Mulvagh emphasizes the importance of not smoking.

To help patients take the right steps toward a healthier lifestyle, Dr. Mulvagh has introduced a philosophy at the Mayo Clinic called the “5, 10 and 8 system.” This simple system breaks down as follows:

First, aim to incorporate 5 fruits and vegetables a day. Next, try to move an extra 10 minutes a day to get your body used to physical exercise. Finally, get 8 full hours of sleep. With this simple plan of attack, you’ll be able to take the right steps toward a healthier lifestyle and heart disease prevention.

For more tips for a healthy heart, view the slideshow below:

Tips For A Healthy Heart
Tips For A Healthy Heart

How healthy is your heart? Find out by taking the Heart Health Quiz here.

For informational purposes only. Please talk to your doctor about your individual situation. If you're having symptoms of a heart attack, call 911.

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