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Heart-Healthy Quiz: Which Lifestyle Choices Are Good For The Heart?

Which snack is healthier? How fast should your heart beat during exercise? Take this quiz to find out how well you know this all-important organ.

Little lifestyle choices are a big deal when it comes to taking care of your heart. From food to physical activity, daily decisions add up. So are you making the right ones? Take this quiz to find out.

Heart-Healthy Habits

Which Snack Is More Heart-Healthy?

a) Popcorn

b) Pretzels

Answer: Popcorn, if It's Air Popped

In the circle of snacks, pretzels are a healthy choice, mainly because they’re low in fat. Three cups of air-popped popcorn, on the other hand, has enough fiber to actually help you lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the body. Popping those kernels at home is healthier than eating the bagged variety. And remember to skip the butter.

Working Out at a Moderate-Intensity Level Means . . .

a) You can sing while maintaining your effort.

b) You can have a comfortable conversation while you’re exercising.

Answer: Neither Singing Nor Talking

Trick question!

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), you can tell you’re working out at a moderately intense level if you can talk in short sentences but not able to comfortably have a conversation.

If you feel short of breath and can’t talk at all, you’re pushing too hard. If you’re able to sing, you’re not pushing hard enough.

You can more scientifically measure your physical activity more accurately by checking your heart rate. Target heart rate is generally within 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, and your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age.

Which Is the Heart-Healthier Way to Cook Fish?

a) Baked

b) Sautéed

Answer: Fish Is Best for the Heart When It's Baked

Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, can reduce one’s risk of cardiovascular disease. A recent study of nearly 49,000 women, published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association found that those who ate little to no fish had 50 percent more heart problems than those who ate fish at least once a week.

But preparation matters. A study published in 2011 found that women who ate five or more servings of baked or broiled fish a week had a 30 percent lower risk of heart failure than those who ate less than a serving per month. The research also showed that darker fish like salmon, mackerel, and bluefish offered a greater benefit than tuna or white fish.

Is Sex Safe for Heart Patients?

a) Yes, sex is good for your heart.

b) No, sexual activity is dangerous.

Answer: Sex Is Great for Heart Patients!

While sex-related heart attacks happen often on soap-opera style television shows, the American Heart Association recently reported that less than 1 percent of acute heart attacks are linked to sexual activity. As long as you get the okay from your doctor, it’s fine to get a little frisky.

In fact, research has shown sex can be good for your heart. A 2010 study found that men who had sex at least twice a week were less likely to develop heart disease than those who did the deed only once a month.

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

a) An hour every day

b) A half-hour most days of the week

Answer: A Half Hour on Most Days

If you got this one wrong, it may be because the right answer is easier than you thought it would be. You don’t have to hit the gym or the pavement every day for your heart to reap the benefits. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity five days a week, for a total of two and a half hours of workout time a week.

Heart-friendly exercises include walking, biking, and dancing. Swimming is particularly great because it puts less stress on your bones and joints than other aerobic exercises.

Which Morning Beverage Can Help Your Heart?

a) Coffee

b) Tea

Answer: Both Coffee and Tea!

You don’t have to choose — studies have linked both coffee and tea to heart health.

Research shows that in moderation (two to four cups a day), coffee may lower risk of heart disease. Additionally, a 2011 study published in the journal Stroke found that women who drank a cup or more of coffee a day have up to a 25 percent lower risk of stroke than those who sip java less often.

Drinking black tea regularly (three cups a day for six months) lowered blood pressure by 2 to 3 mm Hg, according to a recent trial. Studies have also shown that green tea can help lower cholesterol. Researchers believe green tea’s catechins help prevent absorption of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the organs, while increasing the absorption of HDL (good) cholesterol.

Will Beef Help Control Your Cholesterol?

a) No way.

b) Yes!

Answer: Yes, Beef Is a Go on a Low-Cholesterol Diet

The tastiest cuts of red meat are often high in cholesterol-raising saturated fat, which is why people who are watching their levels often steer clear of beef.

But as long as the meat you eat is lean and low in saturated fat, it can be a surprisingly healthy (and still tasty) part of a heart-friendly diet, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Which meat should you buy? The leanest beef cuts include the round, chuck, sirloin, or loin. “Choice” and “select” grades are lower in fat than “prime,” so go for those, whenever possible.

Which Contains More Heart-Healthy Lycopene?

a) Fresh tomatoes

b) Fresh watermelon

Answer: Watermelon Is the Lycopene Winner

Lycopene is an antioxidant compound that gives some red-colored fruits and vegetables their color. Research shows that antioxidants can help lower blood pressure and prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol. When most people think of lycopene, they think of tomatoes. But two cups of watermelon actually pack more lycopene (18.16 mg) than a medium-sized tomato (4 mg).

While watermelon makes a great treat on its own, you can also use it to make water taste less boring by infusing a cold pitcher of H2O with a few pieces of melon.

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