Physical activity can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and people at risk are advised to engage in 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise a week. Keeping a healthy weight, drinking alcohol within the recommended limits, and quitting smoking reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Substituting polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil and rapeseed oil instead of saturated fats may reduce the risk of myocardial infarction, although there is not universal agreement. Dietary modifications are recommended by some national authorities, with recommendations including increasing the intake of wholegrain starch, reducing sugar intake (particularly of refined sugar), consuming five portions of fruit and vegetables daily, consuming two or more portions of fish per week, and consuming 4–5 portions of unsalted nuts, seeds, or legumes per week. The dietary pattern with the greatest support is the Mediterranean diet. Vitamins and mineral supplements are of no proven benefit, and neither are plant stanols or sterols.
Public health measures may also act at a population level to reduce the risk of myocardial infarction, for example by reduce unhealthy diets (excessive salt, saturated fat and trans fat) including food labeling and marketing requirements as well as requirements for catering and restaurants, and stimulating physical activity. This may be part of regional cardiovascular disease prevention programs, or through the health impact assessment of regional and local plans and policies.
Aspirin has been studied extensively in people considered at increased risk of myocardial infarction. Based on numerous studies in different groups (e.g. people with or without diabetes), there does not appear to be a benefit strong enough to outweigh the risk of excessive bleeding.Nevertheless, many clinical practice guidelines continue to recommend aspirin for primary prevention, and some researchers feel that those with very high cardiovascular risk but low risk of bleeding should continue to receive aspirin.