While generally thought of as a man’s disease, more women die every year of heart disease than men.

The best protection against heart disease is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Poor diet, lack of exercise and years of bad lifestyle habits takes its toll on the heart. Click here to learn how to spot the not-so-common symptoms women experience. Identifying them could be the difference between life and death.

Heart disease can be prevented if you are willing to stop the assault and adopt a health lifestyle from this day forward. This simple 28-day plan holds some powerful changes you can make for your heart and you can start today.

Week 1: Eat for Your Heart

In addition to limiting your intake of high-fat foods and red meat, there are certain things you should also be adding to your diet. Focus on a plant-based diet loaded with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, as well as the following:

Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce: This Asian-style hot sauce consists of, among other tasty ingredients, garlic and red chili peppers. Allicin, the active compound in garlic, affects the nitric oxide system, thus helping to relax blood vessels, which can help reduce blood pressure. The capsaicin in chili peppers may also have these vasorelaxant properties, helping to reduce blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels as well.

Kidney Beans: These legumes are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation. Omega-3s reduce triglycerides, stabilize your heartbeat, make platelets “less sticky” and can even lower blood pressure. Omega-3s also boost levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) and help clear your arteries. Add kidney beans to soups and salads.

Sweet Potatoes: These root vegetables contain lutein, carotenoids and alpha carotene. All these antioxidants work to protect your heart. Swap white starches out for nutrient-rich sweet potatoes whenever you have the chance.

Click here for a Chicken Sriracha Stir-Fry recipe that combines all three of the powerful foods. 

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