6. Get adequate amounts of folic acid. Women in the nurses' study who took a daily folic acid supplement had a somewhat reduced risk of hypertension. Those who took a supplement containing more than 800 micrograms a day had the biggest benefits—about a 12 percent lower risk.
7. Moderate your alcohol intake. Both studies found that some alcohol—one to two drinks per day—is protective but that three daily drinks or more is detrimental for the heart. Experts don't recommend imbibing to lower your health risks, but if you already do, stick with a moderate amount and don't overdo it.
8. Don't smoke. Smoking was identified as a big risk factor in the heart failure study, and smoking habits were taken into account in the blood pressure study because it's already known to be a big risk factor in developing hypertension. Bottom line: If you smoke, quit. But it's best not to even start.