There are many things that people enjoy, which, unfortunately, are bad for the heart. These include eating a lot of high-fat and sweetened food products, living a sedentary lifestyle, and smoking. But if you decide to forgo all short-term gratification brought about by these habits, not only can you keep your heart healthy, you can also keep yourself cancer-free.

In a report published in, adhering to at least six of the seven factors to a healthier lifestyle from The American Heart Associations “My Life Check” project decreased the risk of cancer by as much as 51 percent. Even if one only follows one or two out of the seven, cancer incidence decreased by as much as 21 percent.

This study took its cue from a previous study made in 1987, where participants were surveyed about their lifestyles and were asked to undergo physical examinations. 20 years later, the researchers reviewed medical registries and found that 2,880 of the 13,253 participants had developed lung, colon, prostate, or breast cancer. Most of these patients were those who didn’t adhere to at least one healthy habit.

In order to keep your heart happy and to remain cancer-free, experts recommend:

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  • being physically active
  • keeping a healthy weight
  • eating a healthy diet
  • maintaining healthy cholesterol levels
  • keeping blood pressure down
  • regulating blood sugar levels
  • not smoking

Turning from an unhealthy to a healthy lifestyle is a choice that is always open to everyone. As lead study author Laura J. Rasmussen-Torvik concludes, “This adds to the strong body of literature suggesting that it's never too late to change, and that if you make changes like quitting smoking and improving your diet, you can reduce your risk for both cardiovascular disease and cancer.”

(Photo by Cati Garbolio via Flickr Creative Commons)

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