When we talk about causes of heart disease and ways to prevent it, we typically focus on underlying issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. But it’s important to be aware of the seemingly unrelated triggers that can spur a potentially fatal acute cardiovascular crisis.

Heart Attack Trigger #1: Traffic Jams

While interviewing heart attack survivors to uncover different causes of heart attacks, a team of German scientists found that patients were more than three times as likely to have been sitting in traffic—as drivers, passengers, bike riders, or public transportation takers—within an hour of suffering a heart attack.

Heart Attack Trigger #2: Cold Temperatures

What can cause a heart attack in a healthy person? Cold weather can, by causing your arteries to constrict, which can sharply increase your blood pressure. According to Dr. Curtis Rimmerman of the Cleveland Clinic, physical exertion in cold weather, for instance, shoveling snow, poses a serious threat to the health of your heart.

Heart Attack Trigger #3: Infections

According to a study published in Internal Medicine Journal, a respiratory infection dramatically increases your risk of having a heart attack. Your risk is 17 times higher in the week following the infection, and remains elevated for an entire month.

Natural Remedies to Prevent a Heart Attack

If you want to learn how to prevent heart attack naturally, focus on your diet. Research reveals that eating heart-healthy foods can prevent up to 70 percent of heart disease, Dr. Walter Willet, chair of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, explained to Prevention. “Statins, the most effective single medications for reducing heart disease, only cut risk by 25 to 30 percent,” Willet said.

Here are 5 foods to prevent stroke and heart attack:

  1. Oranges: these citrus fruits contain vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and choline, all of which improve your heart health. Potassium is especially vital—it can help lower your blood pressure and protect against stroke.
  2. Nuts: according to Mayo Clinic, a great deal of research indicates adding nuts to your diet can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease. One way that nuts help your heart is by lowering your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels—that’s the “bad” kind that causes plaque buildup in your blood vessels. 
  3. Pomegranates: lowering your cholesterol levels is key, but so is preventing cholesterol from oxidizing (part of the plaque formation process). Michael Aviram, DSc, professor of biochemistry, found that potent antioxidants found in pomegranates can prevent oxidation, block the formation of plaque, and, over time, even undo plaque build-up.
  4. Oatmeal: a compelling body of research shows that oats and other whole-grain breakfast cereals can reduce your risk of high blood pressure and heart attack. According to one study carried out by Harvard researchers, eating oats can lower your heart failure risk by nearly 30 percent.
  5. Leafy greens: leafy greens, like spinach, arugula, and even romaine lettuce, contain rich stores of vitamin B. B vitamins lower your levels of homocysteine, an amino acid experts believe encourages the creation of fatty deposits in your blood cells.

A balanced diet featuring a variety of fruits and vegetables can go a long way toward optimizing the health of your heart. To ensure you’re getting a steady supply of the most valuable, heart-protective nutrients, consider taking a high-quality, all-natural cardiovascular supplement, too.