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Sleep is the best way to relax and rejuvenate your body. It curbs all physical and mental stressors and reduces the risk of various health conditions, including cardiovascular complications. Researchers have found an "ideal time" to fall asleep that is best for your heart health. According to this study by the British Academics, going to bed in the "golden hour" can reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.

Introduction: Sleep and Heart Health

While there are many reasons to prioritize a good night's sleep, protecting your heart tops the list!

From sleep quality to sleep duration, many parameters of your sleep affect your heart health.

According to the American Heart Association, poor sleep is associated with increased calcium build-up in the arteries. This can result in plaque formation, increasing your risk for heart attacks.

In fact, just one hour more sleep each night is associated with a 33% decreased risk of calcium build-up in arteries.

Sleep and atherosclerosis

Image: Calcium plaque formation in the heart's artery

Not getting enough sleep (7-9 hours per night) can induce hormonal changes - especially those that regulate hunger. It increases the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreases the levels of the satiety hormone leptin. This can lead to overeating and obesity, which is again a risk factor for heart diseases.

Excessive sleeping (>9 hours) can also increase the risk of developing a range of heart conditions.

Check Out: Gene Sleep Report - Your Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep

Heart conditions associated with bad sleep include:

Sleep Onset Timing And Cardiovascular Disease Incidence: The Study

Study Participants and Data

This study from the United Kingdom used an accelerometer device to examine the sleep onset and waking time in the study participants. 

Accelerometers are devices that monitor sleep by sensing movements.

103,679 participants (in the UK Biobank recruited between 2006 and 2010) were made to wear the accelerometer for 7 days, and accelerometer data were studied.

After some filtering, a total of 15,653 participants were excluded from the study for reasons like:

The sleep-onset time (SOT) of the remaining 88,026 patients was recorded, and the relationship between SOT and heart diseases was investigated.

The study was done over a period of 6 years and reported that 3.6% of subjects later developed heart disease.

Study Results

There was a U-shaped relationship between increased risk of heart disease and SOT - this suggests that there is an optimal SOT for reducing heart disease risk.

Sleep onset time and heart disease risk

Image: Relationship between sleep-onset time and heart disease risk

Any deviations from this range - earlier SOT or later SOT can increase heart disease risk.

The findings

Sleep and heart disease risk

Image: Study Results

Lower Risk of Heart Diseases For SOT from 10 PM to 11 PM - Why?

The findings of this study do not show a causal relationship between SOT and heart disease risk - it just implies a correlation.

However, there is a mountain of evidence that sleep is related to other risk factors of heart disease, like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.

Study Limitations

How To Sleep At The Right Time

Creating a consistent sleep pattern: Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day (even during weekends and holidays) can help your sleep cycle function well.

Planning your naps: Midday naps, if not done correctly, can interfere with a good night's sleep. A short nap during the afternoon can help you get through your midday lull and not disrupt the night's sleep!

Getting enough sunlight: Natural light, especially during the day, can help your body's clock to function well, thereby promoting good quality sleep.

Improving your bedtime routine: Instead of looking at devices like mobile phones and laptops that emit blue light, listening to music, reading, or taking a relaxing warm bath before bed can help with the quick onset of sleep.

Having an early dinner: The CDC recommends not eating or drinking anything within a few hours of bedtime to give your body enough time to wind down. 



  1. Good quality sleep is very important for your heart health. Sleeping for less than 7 hours or more than 9 hours can increase your risk for various heart diseases.
  2. A recent study conducted in the UK found that sleep onset time before 10 PM and after 11 PM was associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
  3. The association between sleep onset time and heart disease risk was more profound in women.
  4. Creating a consistent sleep pattern, improving your sleep routine, and getting enough sunlight can help you fall asleep at the right time and improve your sleep quality.



Cardiometabolic diseases include cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack, stroke, angina, and metabolic conditions like insulin resistance, type II diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Over the years, low-fat diets have been embraced due to their health effects. But emerging evidence shows that low-carb diets may be just as effective. Recent research has suggested that low-carb diets have been shown to improve cardiometabolic risk profile.

Low-Fat vs. Low-Carb

In the last 50 years, the medical community has encouraged low-fat diets to avoid the effects of saturated fats on the heart. So low-fat and fat-free foods have been majorly circulating on the grocery shelves; however, many of these foods happen to be high in processed carbs.

However, recently many studies and healthcare professionals have been challenging this thought process. This has led to the emergence of the ketogenic diet.

A ketogenic diet is a very low carb, high-fat diet, restricting intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, baked goods, candies, and sweets. 

Some versions may also limit healthy carb sources, such as grains, starchy vegetables, high-carb fruits, pasta, and legumes.

The diet is high in protein, fat, and healthy vegetables. They may increase good cholesterol levels and decrease blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

Other than helping with weight loss, low-carb diets increase good cholesterol levels, reduce blood sugar levels, lower triglyceride levels, and keep your metabolism in control.

Please note: Some harmful effects like fatigue, kidney stones, headache, loss in muscle tissue have been reported with low-carb diets. Consult a qualified nutritionist before making any significant dietary changes. 

Low-Carb Diets May Lower Risk of Cardiometabolic Disease Risk: A New Study

The Boston Children's Hospital led a large clinical trial to examine the effects of a low-carb diet on cardiometabolic disease risk. 

The study included 164 adults who were overweight or obese. The participants had already lost 10-14 percent of their body weight by undergoing a reduced-calorie diet.

The participants were randomly assigned one of these three diets:

The participants received their customized meals, thus ensuring that all of them rigidly followed the protocol. 

In all the prepared meals, saturated fats comprised 35% of the total fat present. In the low-carb meal, saturated fat contributed to 21% of the calories, and in the high-carb meal, it contributed to 7% of the calories.

Study Findings

Compared to the lower-fat higher-carb diets, the low-carb diet had the following benefits:

Though this study was done on adults, the researchers say that low-carb diets may benefit children too. In fact, pediatric cardiologists are also starting to embrace low-carb diets.

 Tips To Follow Low-Carb Diet 




Night shift work can impact your circadian rhythm by making you operate in a way that is “unnatural” to your sleep-wake cycle. A recent study has reported that people who work night shifts are at an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation and heart disease. The study further reported that among the night shift workers, women who are physically inactive are at the highest risk.

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is characterized by irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related ailments.

Generally, the chambers of the heart work in coordination to pump the blood. However, in AF, the two upper chambers of the heart (right auricle and left auricle) beat chaotically and out of coordination with the two lower chambers (right and left ventricle) of the heart. 

Some common symptoms associated with AF include :

Learn Your Genetic Risk for Atrial Fibrillation with Xcode Life’s Gene Health Report

Night Shift And Heart Disease

Night shift workers, on average, get two to three hours less sleep than other workers. They often sleep through the day in two split periods; a few hours in the morning and then around an hour before starting the night shift. 

It’s challenging to keep the sleep environment dark, free of noise, and relatively calm. A person working the night shift is at greater risk of various health conditions due to the disrupted circadian rhythm.

Researchers suggest that working the night shift may lead to hormonal and metabolic changes, which can increase the risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Further, studies report that circadian misalignment results in a drop in levels of the weight-regulating hormone leptin. This can increase heart disease risk by prompting an increase in appetite.

The Study: Night Shift Work and Heart Problems

The study included 286,353 people who were in paid employment or self-employed.

The study cohort was divided into:

The researchers adjusted their analyses for several factors like age, sex, ethnicity, education, socio-economic status, diet, smoking, body mass index, sleep duration, and chronotype that could alter the risk of developing AF.

The researchers, therefore, adjusted these risk factors.

The following were observed in the study:

The study further revealed two more interesting findings.

How To Work The Night Shift and Stay Healthy

Avoid Caffeine Close to Bedtime

Caffeine inhibits your body’s ability to feel sleepy. So, avoid food and drink containing caffeine at least 4 hours before your bedtime.

Maintain A Sleep-Conducive Environment In Your Bedroom

Light exposure can activate all the processes in your body associated with wakefulness, making it difficult for you to fall asleep. Use blackout curtains or blinds that can help block the light entry.

Eat Healthy

Shift work has been associated with an increased risk of metabolic disorders. Limit sugar intake and increase protein intake. Eating small, frequent meals can also help maintain your metabolic health.

Exercise Regularly

Avoid daytime exercising when on shift work, as it can promote wakefulness. But, make sure to adopt a consistent exercise routine as this can help lower the risk for heart disease.




Our affinity for alcohol is not new; in fact, we developed it ten million years ago, even before we evolved into humans! The natural source of alcohol is fruits, with usually less than 1% of ethanol in ripe fruits and up to 8% in overripe fruits. The presence of alcohol was beneficial both for our primate ancestors as well as the plants that bore the fruits. The strong smell of alcohol traveled far and wide, attracting primates. This helped primates reach food sources while they helped the plants by dispersing the seeds. Alcohol was considered highly beneficial when fruits were its major source. In the present time, where alcoholic drinks are available in large quantities and are consumed in higher concentrations, they tend to do more harm than good.

Alcohol flush reaction: What is it?

The consumption of alcohol in some individuals causes blotches of erythema on their face and neck region, and sometimes on the entire body. Such an event is called an alcohol flush reaction.

Most of the time, it happens as a result of improper digestion of alcohol.

Accumulation of acetaldehyde in the body after alcohol consumption leads to this reaction.

When you consume alcohol, it gets metabolized to its byproduct acetaldehyde.

In typical cases, acetaldehyde gets metabolized further.

An enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase, coded by the gene ALDH2, is responsible for this metabolism.

However, some individuals have a defective gene that prevents the further metabolism of acetaldehyde.

This causes its accumulation in the body resulting in an alcohol flush reaction.

More about the enzyme

There are two types of enzymes responsible for the breakdown of alcohol: alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase. Acetate is synthesized with the help of aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH), mostly by ALDH2, a mitochondrial enzyme, but also by ALDH1, the cytosolic enzyme. 

There are five different types of ADH enzymes based on structural similarity and kinetic properties. 

Class I enzymes: The class I enzymes are coded by the ADH1A, ADH1B, and ADH1C genes, which are associated with about 70% of the total ethanol oxidizing capacity.

II: The class II enzymes are coded by the ADH4 gene, which is associated with about 30% ethanol oxidizing capacity. 

III: The class III enzymes are coded by the ADH5 gene and is the only class of enzyme that is detected in the brain. 

IV: The class IV enzymes are coded by the ADH7 gene and are found mainly in the upper digestive tract, where it oxidizes ethanol at high concentrations. 

V: The class V enzymes coded ADH6 gene are found in a variety of substrates, including retinol but are less efficient in ethanol metabolism.

Who is more prone to alcohol flush?

People of Asian descent, especially the East Asian descent, are more susceptible to have an alcohol flush reaction.

In fact, this red face phenomenon is also called the "Asian flush or "Asian glow."

According to some studies, over 70% of East Asians have genetic polymorphisms in either ADH or ALDH2, leading to intense flushing with ethanol consumption.

What happens during an alcohol flush reaction?

Other than the primary flushing red face, the other symptoms include:

Is the reaction dangerous?

While the flushing by itself may not to be dangerous, the reaction may have other health-related implications.

A 2013 study reported that people who experience an alcohol flush reaction on drinking might have a higher chance of developing hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Another study done on East Asian men in 2017 found an association between high risk of cancer, especially esophageal cancer, and flushing reaction.

This can be due to the high levels of acetaldehyde, which can trigger the growth of cancer cells.

How's it diagnosed?

When you report with suspected alcohol flush reaction, your doctor may first perform a physical examination. Other confirmatory tests also help with the diagnosis.

Skin test 

It detects your allergy, if any, to a substance in alcoholic beverages such as grains like maize, rye, and wheat. 

A little amount of the substance is injected into your skin, and the reaction is studied. If the skin appears red and raised, you are noted positive for the test.

Blood test

A blood test is done to detect the presence of antibodies like IgE that are found in the blood when there is an allergic reaction to a substance in alcohol.

Enzyme test

Measuring the amount of alcohol metabolizing enzymes, alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase, can predict the intensity of reaction that one may experience.

Genetic test

The gene responsible for acetaldehyde metabolism in the body is ALDH2 that produces the enzyme ALDH2 or Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 2. 

Individuals who suffer from an alcohol flush reaction may have a faulty or deficient ALDH2 gene, and this can be identified using genetic testing.

Treating alcohol flush reaction

There is no definitive treatment for the root cause of this reaction, ALDH2 deficiency.

However, there are options when it comes to managing the symptoms.

  1. Antihistamines or histamine blockers can help control facial flushing.
  2. Another treatment, brimonidine, approved by the FDA for treating rosacea (a skin condition that causes redness in your face), can be effective for managing the flushing as well.
  3. Some laser-based therapies are also helpful to control the redness in the face.

Alcohol flush prevention

The only foolproof way to prevent this reaction is to avoid or limit your alcohol intake.

A lot of people tend to use OTC antihistamines to manage the reaction, but this is strongly not advisable.

The first and foremost step is to recognize your risk for this condition by studying your ALDH2 gene variants.

Check your 23andMe raw data or your Ancestry DNA raw data to find out the variant you carry

[table “77” not found /]

According to the variant you carry, you might need to limit or discontinue alcohol consumption.

Other unwanted reactions to alcohol consumption addressed

Why do I bleed after a night of drinking?

Alcohol irritates the gastric lining.

When you drink alcohol, even a small quantity of it, it causes your stomach to produce acid.

Consumption of excess alcohol leads to increased production of stomach acid, which can lead to gastritis.

In many cases, due to excess alcohol, it triggers pain in the stomach, causes diarrhea, vomiting, and even bleeding.

Why do my ears burn when I drink alcohol?

Alcohol affects almost all parts of our body.

Consumption of excess alcohol affects the part of the brain that controls hearing.

In fact, alcohol consumption affects ears and hearing in more than one way.

When we drink alcohol, it also gets absorbed in the fluid of our ears and causes a burning sensation.

Does alcohol cause hot flashes?

Alcohol causes hot flashes in women, especially those going through menopause.

Does alcohol increase body temperature?

Having even a few sips of alcohol can make you feel warmer.

This is because alcohol makes the blood vessels underneath your skin dilate and increases the blood flow in them, which can induce the 'warm feeling.'

But in reality, alcohol reduces your core temperature.

What are some steps to reduce alcohol consumption?

Reducing alcohol consumption can immensely improve your health. Here is a list of a few things you can do to help you reduce drinking:

  1. Keep track of your drinking habits, and change them if warranted
  2. Drink slowly and hydrate yourself with water between drinks
  3. Switch to low alcohol alternatives
  4. Avoid salty snacks such as peanuts, as they make you more thirsty leading you to consume more alcohol
  5. Space out your drinks along with lots of food
  6. Watch out for peer-pressure and avoid any triggers
  7. Don't be shy to reach out for support

Do you have your DNA raw data from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, FTDNA, LivingDNA, etc.?

Upload the file to Xcode Life to get insights into 700+health-related traits!

Updated 05 May 2020

The Methyl Tetra Hydrofolate Reductase gene (MTHFR) is associated with the synthesis of the MTHFR enzyme, which converts folate obtained from the diet into an active form. The active folate is involved in the re-methylation of homocysteine to methionine. MTHFR gene variations determine how the body utilizes folate from the diet. People with the T variant of the gene are associated with lower levels of MTHFR enzyme which increases the risk for folate deficiency when there is a low intake of folate in the diet.

Association with Vitamin B9/Folate Needs:

In a study conducted on people with major depressive disorder, people with the T variant with low folate intake were shown to be associated with an increased risk of elevated plasma homocysteine levels. Elevated levels of homocysteine are found to be associated with an increased risk for depression, bipolar disorder, neural tube defects, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia. Homocysteinemia is also associated with increased oxidative stress and DNA damage, triggering apoptosis and excitotoxicity.

Association with Neural Tube Defects:

In a meta-analysis, taking into account 50 research studies on the influence of MTHFR gene on neural tube defects, the presence of maternal T variant of the gene was associated with increased risk for neural tube defects among newborns.

Association with Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease:

People with the T variant of the gene are associated with increased risk for hypertension by 24-87% and CVD by 40%. Intake of sufficient amount of riboflavin lowered blood pressure among people with the T variant of the gene.

Association with Male Infertility:

In a study conducted on the South Asian population, men with the T variant were significantly associated with male infertility.

Association with Breast cancer:

In a meta-analysis with nearly 74,000 participants, people with the T variant of the gene were shown to be associated with an increased risk for breast cancer.

Association with Rheumatoid Arthritis:

People with the T variant of the gene were shown to be associated with higher plasma homocysteine levels with an increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis. A similar study also showed an association between the T variant of the gene and an increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis.

Does your 23andme, Ancestry DNA, FTDNA raw data have MTHFR gene variant information?

23andMe (Use your 23andme raw data to know your MTHFR Variant)
v1 23andmePresent
v2 23andmePresent
v3 23andmePresent
v4 23andmePresent
V5 23andme (current chip)Present
AncestryDNA  (Use your ancestry DNA raw data to know your MTHFR Variant)
v1 ancestry DNAPresent
V2 ancestry DNA (current chip)Present
Family Tree DNA  (Use your FTDNA raw data to know your MTHFR Variant)
OmniExpress microarray chipPresent

Association with ADHD:

In a study conducted on the Eastern Indian population, people with the T variant of the gene were shown to be associated with vitamin B12 deficiency and hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Personalized Medicine for People with Rheumatoid Arthritis:

People with the T variant of the gene were associated with non-response to methotrexate in the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

Genotype rs1801133PhenotypeRecommendation
TT[Limitation] More likely to have lower MTHFR enzyme activity [Limitation] More likely to have hyperhomocysteinemia [Limitation] More likely to deliver babies with Neural tube Defects (Women) [Limitation] More Likely to have higher blood pressure and increased risk for cardiovascular disease [Limitation] More Likely to have rheumatoid arthritis [Limitation] More Likely to have ADHD [Limitation] More likely to be infertile (Male) [Limitation] Less likely to respond to Methotrexate (for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis)Include at least 400 mcg of folate in the diet every day Folate-rich foods include romano beans, white beans, lentils, asparagus, okra, green leafy vegetables Include sufficient riboflavin in the diet to lower risk for hypertension. Riboflavin-rich foods include Mushroom, spinach, lamb, milk and natural yogurt
CTModerate level of MTHFR enzymeInclude recommended daily intake (RDI) of folate and riboflavin in the diet.
CT[Advantage] More likely to have higher MTHFR enzyme [Advantage] Less likely to have hyperhomocysteinemia [Advantage] Less likely to deliver babies with Neural tube Defects (Women) [Advantage] Less Likely to have higher blood pressure and increased risk for cardiovascular disease [Advantage] Less Likely to have rheumatoid arthritis [Advantage] Less Likely to have ADHD [Advantage] Less likely to be infertile (Male) [Advantage] More likely to respond to Methotrexate (for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis)Include recommended daily intake (RDI) of folate and riboflavin in the diet.



Related Links:


Nutrigenetics, fitness genetics, health genetics are all nascent but rapidly growing areas within human genetics. The information provided herein is based on preliminary scientific studies and it is to be read and understood in that context.”

The Insulin signaling protein type 2 gene (INSIG2) is associated with the synthesis of INSIG2 protein which interacts with transcription factors, activating the synthesis of cholesterol and fatty acids.  The variants of the INSIG2 gene have been shown to be associated with body fat accumulation. Specific alleles of this gene are known to either increase or decrease INSIG2 protein levels which are associated with subcutaneous fat accumulation upon exercising.  

Does your 23andme, Ancestry DNA, FTDNA raw data have INSIG2 gene variant information?

23andMe (Use your 23andme raw data to know your INSIG2 Variant)
v1 23andmePresent
v2 23andmePresent
v3 23andmePresent
v4 23andmePresent
V5 23andme (current chip)Present
AncestryDNA  (Use your ancestry DNA raw data to know your INSIG2 Variant)
v1 ancestry DNAPresent
V2 ancestry DNA (current chip)Present
Family Tree DNA  (Use your FTDNA raw data to know your INSIG2 Variant)
OmniExpress microarray chipPresent

Association with Baseline Subcutaneous fat and Obesity:

In the Framingham Heart Study, people with the C variant of the gene were shown to be associated with obesity, measured in terms of BMI. In a recent similar study conducted on a North Indian population, there was a significant association between INSIG2 gene polymorphism and severe obesity. In another study that analyzed the level of subcutaneous fat, women with the C variant of the gene were shown to be associated with higher levels of baseline subcutaneous fat.

Association with Fat Gain/Loss upon Strength Training:

Men with the C variant of the gene were associated with higher gain in subcutaneous fat upon resistance training while men with the G variant showed a loss in subcutaneous fat. In another study, men with the G variant of the allele were shown to be associated with Intramuscular (IMAT) volume in the upper arm after 12 weeks of training than for the subcutaneous fat. In a study on obese children who were on a weight loss program, children with the C variant of the gene were found to lose less weight than children with the G variant.

Association with Hypercholesterolemia: 

In a study conducted on Japanese women, the C variant of the gene was shown to have a protective effect on the progression of hypercholesterolemia when on a high fat diet. On an initial analysis in another study, women with the C variant of the gene showed a lower prevalence for hypercholesterolemia.

CC[Limitation] More likely to have higher BMI [Limitation] More likely to have higher subcutaneous fat upon resistance training [Advantage] Less likely to have hypercholesterolemia (Women)Likely increase in subcutaneous fat upon strength training Including fitness programs, other than strength training might be more beneficial Additional effort may be required to lose weight when compared to people with the G variant
CGModerate BMI and subcutaneous fat accumulation upon exercisingLikely increase in subcutaneous fat upon strength training Including fitness programs, other than strength training might be more beneficial Additional effort may be required to lose weight when compared to people with the G variant
GG[Advantage] More likely to have lower BMI [Advantage] More likely to have lower subcutaneous fat upon exercising [Limitation] More Likely to have hypercholesterolemia(women)Likely lower subcutaneous fat upon exercising Strength training has not been shown to be associated with increase in subcutaneous fat upon exercising. There is an increase in Intramuscular volume on training, which may benefit bodybuilders



Nutrigenetics, fitness genetics, health genetics are all nascent but rapidly growing areas within human genetics. The information provided herein is based on preliminary scientific studies and it is to be read and understood in that context.”

I am your heart. I work really hard to keep you alive. Every minute I pump out 5 litres of oxygen rich blood to every cell in your body so you can think, move, speak, work and live. In return all I ask is that you keep me healthy. Not many people around the world do that. In fact approximately 17.3 million people die every year because heart disease. By 2020, it will be the leading cause of death around the world.

So let’s have a conversation. Heart to heart. Here are 7 natural ways you can prevent a heart attack.


1. Eat Healthy

Look towards healthy foods that help lower cholesterol. Eat vegetables and fish that have lots of good fats. Don’t eat as much red meat, choose lean meats instead. Eat a serving of nuts (walnuts, almonds etc.) every day. Drink less of carbonated beverages and drink natural fruit juices without added sugar. Get 4-5 servings of fresh vegetables. Feeling like having a snack? Skip the chips and salty foods and munch on some fresh carrots instead. Search and build your own book of healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Trust me, your heart will thank you for it.

2. Exercise

With more of us having less active jobs than ever before, a lack of exercise is a big risk factor for heart disease. On the bright side, it also means that exercising regularly in addition to eating healthy is one of the fastest ways to reduce your risk! Research shows that getting just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week can significantly reduce the risk of a heart attack. Can’t spare 30 minutes at a stretch? Sneak in three 10 minute sessions of brisk walking or exercise whenever you get a break.

3. Get adequate rest

We’re living in a 24X7 world. The computers and mobile devices that allow us to connect to the internet and each other whenever we want have also taken away proper sleep habits. We sacrifice sleep for work and for leisure without realizing the effect that it has on our body. Scientific studies have shown that people who get less than 6 hours of sleep a night have a higher chance of getting high blood pressure and high cholesterol both of which contribute to heart disease. So put down that phone, turn off the TV and get some sleep.

4. Quit smoking

Smoking can double the risk of you having a heart attack. Smoking damages the blood vessels and increases the risk of them being blocked leading to higher chances of a heart attack. Women who take birth control pills and smoke are particularly at a higher risk to develop heart disease. Even smoking for a brief period of time damages the heart. Nicotine in cigarettes or chewing tobacco reduces the oxygen supply to the heart and increases blood pressure. So if you smoke, make a healthy start and quit today.

5. Drink alcohol in strict moderation

If you drink alcohol, be sure to strictly control how much you drink. Drinking alcohol excessively has been shown to increase the risk for hypertension, obesity and heart disease. Alcohol intake above moderate levels also increases cholesterol levels leading to formation of plaques and blood vessel blockage.

6. Practice Yoga and Meditation

Among other benefits, yoga and meditation have been shown to significantly reduce stress and have positive effects on mind and body. Yoga comprises of physical exercises as well as training to control the breath. In combination with meditation, yoga can improves many physiological functions and be extremely effective as a preventive mechanism for heart attacks.

7. Know your numbers and your risk factors

Lastly, always be aware of your health status. According to Barry A Franklin PhD Director of Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation at William Beaumont Hospital in Michigan USA and an American Heart Association Volunteer “Regular cardiovascular screening is important because it helps you detect risk factors in their earliest stages”. See your physician regularly and get your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked. Your genes can play a role in whether you are more likely to get heart disease. Know your family history and whether that puts you at an increased risk. In addition, an advanced program like Xcode’s Lifelong Wellness can analyze your genes for health risks and metabolic traits and give you a personalized nutrition and fitness plan that will put you on the on the path to a healthier lifestyle.



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