When attempting to prevent cardiovascular disease, it is more effective to remove and prevent causes, which often take the form of modifying risk factors. Some factors, such as gender, age, and family history, cannot be modified.

Smoking cessation (or abstinence) is one of the most effective and easily modifiable changes.

Regular aerobic exercise complements the healthful eating habits. Build up of plaque on the arteries, partly as a result of high cholesterol and fat diet, is a leading cause for cardiovascular diseases. The combination of healthy diet and exercise is a means to improve serum cholesterol levels and reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases; if not, a physician may prescribe “cholesterol-lowering” drugs. These medications have additional protective benefits aside from their lipoprotein profile improvement.

One possible way to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease is keep your total cholesterol below 150.

Research has shown that a diet that includes dark chocolate, almonds, fish, wine, fruits, vegetables, and garlic can increase life expectancy and decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Studies of individual heart cells showed that fatty acids blocked excessive sodium and calcium currents in the heart, which could otherwise cause dangerous, unpredictable changes in its rhythm. There is also evidence that reducing the amount of sodium in the diet reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by more than 25%.