02/20/2014 08:05 am ET Updated Feb 20, 2014

7 Proven Ways To Prevent Heart Disease

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It’s a fact: Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death of men and women in the United States, killing 1 million every year, according to the Heart Foundation. That means someone's dying from heart disease every 33 seconds. To protect your heart, you've probably heard thousand times that you should eat right, exercise, and control risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol. But do these things actually work at protecting your heart and health?

To find out, we explored the research and talked to Tim Church, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Director of Preventive Medicine Research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.

“The potential for prevention is huge for cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Church. “The first rule is, ‘Don’t smoke.’ Smoking is a nuclear bomb.”

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