I lost my nephew this summer to heart disease at the young age of 32. I dedicate this article to the loving memory of Steven Stone Jr. and I hope that this information will be helpful to others to save your life and the lives of your loved ones.

Causes of heart disease can come from many things such as:

Heredity and race

​* High blood pressure

​* High cholesterol

​* Obesity and weight gain

​* Diabetes

​* Stress

​* Tobacco Smoke

​* Drinking too much alcohol

Diet modification, getting enough sleep and exercise are key factors to keeping your heart healthy.

There are many foods that are essential to maintaining a healthy heart. They include the following:

​* Blueberries

​* Oatmeal

​* Almonds

​* Salmon

​* Olive oil

​* Legumes

​* Soy milk

​* All fruit and vegetables

These foods all help to reduce cholesterol. Fiber intake is equally important.

Add the following foods to your diet increase your fiber intake:

*  Broccoli

*  Brussel sprouts

*  Carrots

*  Legumes

Diet modification can make a big difference. Just as there are foods to add to help maintain a healthy heart, there are foods to avoid as well.

Foods you must avoid:

*  Butter

*  Shortening

*  Piecrust

*  Hydrogenated oils

*  Doughnuts

*  Breakfast meats such as bacon, sausage and ham

*  French fries

*  Potato chips

*  Ice cream and egg yolks

These foods are all high in cholesterol. Also on this list, and probably the hardest for me to cut out personally are shrimp, scallops, and lobster.

You should also reduce your intake of animal meats because of the amount of saturated fat it contains. It won’t be easy to cut things out but you will feel so much better and your heart will love you for it. Often there are no warning signs of heart disease so you will want to get a full physical and keep on top of your cholesterol levels.

The following are symptoms that could lead to a heart attack according to the American Heart Association:

*  Chest pain and discomfort

*  Pain in the upper body such as arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw or even the stomach

*  If you experience any of these, you should seek immediate medical attention right away.

I wish you the best of health and a long happy life. Happy Holidays to all!!!