4 Things You May Not Know Are Harming Your Heart

General Health

heartFailing to exercise or eating unhealthy foods are perhaps the most well-known risk factors for heart disease. But they are far from alone. In fact, you could be doing things right now that are upping your chances of heart disease, and not even know it.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the U.S, making up 25% of all deaths per year. Only cancer comes close, with all types of cancer combined accounting for 24%. So what else is to blame, besides lack of exercise and and unhealthy diet?

Here are 4 little-known risks which could make a major difference in whether or not your heart is healthy.

1. BPA

When we talk about bispehnol-A, it’s normally about the compound’s effects on reproductive health, namely that it disrupts hormones and could lead to obesity, early maturation in girls, fertility problems, and an increased risk of certain types of cancer. But there is also evidence that it can lead to heart disease.

Research has found that adults with higher BPA exposure have corresponding higher risks of cardiovascular disease.

2. Water

Heavy metals found in your tap water could also be upping your risk. Arsenic and lead in particular have been linked to high blood pressure and both are relatively common tap water contaminants.

Read: This Food Promotes Heart Health

3. Mercury-Contaminated Seafood

While fish consumption may reduce your risk of heart disease because of the omega-3 fatty acids, the mercury within could have unintended results. Mercury exposure has been tied to high blood pressure and an elevated risk of heart attacks. Shark, swordfish, and tuna are those that typically have the highest levels of mercury.

4. Rice

While it seems an odd inclusion to this list, both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Consumer Reports have recently issued papers indicating rice products often have high levels of arsenic. As with arsenic-contaminated water, this could lead to increased blood pressure. Not to mention the fact that arsenic is a carcinogen.

What can you do to reduce your exposure?

  • Have your water tested.
  • Avoid plastic food containers that use BPA.
  • Limit your seafood consumption.
  • Eat rice in moderate amounts.

Do all of these things, but know the biggest risk factors for cardiovascular disease are lack of exercise and poor dietary habits.