9 Heart-Healthy Tips You Must Follow Heart disease tops the list for leading causes of death in the United States. Without a doubt, this stat is alarming, but there are a lot of things you can do improve your heart health and decrease your chances of disease—starting today.

Cut out the soda habit. You may have heard that sugar is linked to high blood pressure and triglyceride levels, but you’re not safe choosing diet soda either. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose can increase your risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Schedule regular adjustments. The University of Chicago Hypertension Center performed a study involving 50 individuals and found that after just one chiropractic adjustment to a misaligned atlas bone (a vertebra that helps support the head), patients experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure.

Choose your fats wisely. Contrary to popular belief, the amount of fats in your diet isn’t the culprit of heart disease, instead it’s the kind of fats. Avoid trans fats like the plague—this is an unnatural fat created through hydrogenation. Instead opt for healthy fats in moderation, like monounsaturated fats (organic avocado, walnuts), omega-3 fatty acids (wild-caught Alaskan salmon) and saturated fats (insect and seed-fed eggs, coconut oil).

Decrease wheat products. Many medical doctors are beginning to band together in support of decreasing wheat in the diet. We know two slices of whole-wheat bread raise your blood sugar as much as two tablespoons of sugar (remember: sugar is linked to high blood pressure). Plus, gluten (the sticky protein that causes bread to rise) can cause inflammation in the body—and inflammation is common in patients who’ve had a stroke or have heart disease.

Ditch the nonstick cookware. While nonstick cookware is certainly convenient, it might not be worth it. These surfaces contain polyfluoralkyl chemicals which have been linked to high cholesterol—and they also sit on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list as a “chemical of concern.”

9 Heart-Healthy Tips You Must Follow

Give HIIT a try. Consisting of short bursts of exercise and frequent, short rest periods, high intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to lower blood pressure and increase cardiovascular and muscle strength.

Cook with coconut oil. You might not realize, but certain oils can produce toxic fumes and harmful free radicals when they reach certain temperatures (known as the smoke or flash point). Coconut oil has a great tolerance to heat, and has also been shown to promote heart health.

Get giggling. It feels great to get in a big, belly-shaking laugh—and it’s good for you, too. The University of Maryland Medical Center found evidence that laughter can diminish the stress that harms the endothelium, a thin layer of cells that make up the lining of blood vessels and support blood flow.

Enjoy fish twice a week. Studies have shown adding fish to your diet twice a week could lower your risk of heart disease by 30 percent. Opt for wild-caught Alaskan salmon, freshwater Coho salmon, Atlantic mackerel, sardines or anchovies—which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids without the high mercury risks.