Strange Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease And Stroke

1. Ride your bike 20 minutes a day. You can handle stroke , can’t you? When German researchers had 100 men with mild chest pain, or angina, either exercise 20 minutes a day on a stationary bike or undergo an artery-clearing procedure called angioplasty, they found that a year after the angioplasty, 21 men suffered a heart attack, stroke, or other problem compared to only 6 of the bikers.

2. Eat a piece of dark chocolate several times a week. Believe it or not, several small studies suggest dark chocolate could be good for your heart! The beneficial effects are likely due to chemicals in chocolate called flavonoids, which help arteries stay flexible.

3. Have a beer once a day. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that men who drank one beer a day for one month lowered their cholesterol levels, increased their blood levels of heart-healthy antioxidants, and reduced their levels of fibrinogen, a protein that contributes to blood clots.

4. Take a B vitamin complex every morning. When Swiss researchers asked more than 200 men and women to take either a combination of three B vitamins (folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12) or a placebo after they had surgery to open their arteries, they found that levels of homocysteine, a substance linked to an increased risk of heart disease, were 40 percent lower in those who took the vitamins.

5. Tape-record yourself at night. If you hear yourself snoring (or if your sleeping partner has been kicking you a lot), make an appointment with your doctor. You may have sleep apnea, a condition in which your breathing stops hundreds of times throughout the night.

6. Go to bed an hour earlier tonight. A Harvard study of 70,000 women found that those who got less than seven hours of sleep had a slightly higher risk of heart disease.

7. Eat fish at least once a week. Have it grilled, sautéed, baked, or roasted — just have it. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in April 2002 found that women who ate fish at least once a week were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or die of heart disease than those who ate fish only once a month.

8. Eat a high-fiber breakfast cereal at least four times a week. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in September 1999, Harvard University scientists found that women who ate 23 grams of fiber a day — mostly from cereal — were 23 percent less likely to have heart attacks than those who consumed only 11 grams of fiber.

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