As we get older, it is easy to get too used to certain unhealthy habits. You are only human though, and we all have some guilty pleasures. It is never too late—and always a good idea—to start thinking about your overall lifestyle, well-being and physical condition. After all, you’re what you live and eat, and your lifestyle choices that you make will have a big impact on your longevity and heart health. If you are over 40, it is important to take some time to identify and quit some of those bad habits for a healthier heart.
Taking better care of your body and making your health a main priority is very necessary. We talked with Dr. Juan Rivera, MD to learn what bad habits individuals over 40 should be aware of—and quit ASAP—to achieve a healthier heart. Keep reading to learn about the bad habits you should quit for better heart health.
1 — Smoking
A bad habit that some people have is smoking Tabaco, and Rivera notes it is something that should be stopped ASAP. According to the CDC, smoking is the main culprit of heart disease. Your risk of developing heart disease is increased by the number of cigarettes you smoke on a daily basis, and if you continue smoking year after year. Needless to say, if you do smoke, quitting the absolute best steps that you can take in order to have a healthy heart as well as your lungs.
2 — Eating ice cream
You are probably not going to like quitting this one at all—especially the next time you are Netflix-ing on your couch, with spoon in hand, thinking about eating a particular sweet snack. Rivera advises, “Eating less ice cream: I call it a triple threat. It has fat, sugar and salt.” (Ice cream is packed full of saturated fat.)
3 — Drinking soda
The next terrible habit Rivera says you should ditch is drinking soda, even diet soda. He cautions, “It raises the risk of developing heart disease.” So, switch up your go-to drink, because beverages that are high in sugar are a big no-no.
4 — Eating bread baskets at restaurants
Rivera says, “At least a lot of the time, skip the bread prior to lunch or dinner when you eat at restaurants.” Bread that is prepared with white flour does not have healthy vitamins, fiber and minerals. Consuming a lot of white bread—aka “refined grains”—might enhance your risks of developing heart disease. We all know that basket of warm dinner rolls might seem really tempting, but for your health, try to refrain from eating them.
5 — Drinking energy drinks
Last but not least, another unhealthy item on the list of habits to quit is energy drinks. Rivera says to quit drinking them, as this habit “may lead to arrhythmias and possibly cardiovascular events.” Another one bites the dust, but that is it.
And there you have it! Quitting these things from your life might not be easy, but you will be giving yourself the care and attention you deserve and require to remain healthy in your 40s and beyond.