The quest to achieve healthy living is one that many of us are on, even if we don’t always achieve our goals in this area of life!

Yet it’s often not as tricky as it might seem to really help your health.

US organisation the American Heart Association has a collection of seven steps, ‘Life’s Simple Seven’ that it recommends Americans to follow in order to maintain the health of their heart.

Some of them will sound familiar to a lot of us - but how many are you following?

The association advises that people do not smoke, stay physically active, regulate their blood sugar levels and eat healthily.

It also advises that they should maintain a healthy weight and healthy levels of cholesterol, as well as to keep their blood sugar down.

Interestingly, recent research has suggested that following these steps in an effort to cut down on the chances of getting heart disease also helps to cut your risk of cancer.

Following six or seven recommendations was shown to cut cancer risk by 51 per cent, when those following the steps were compared to people following none of them.

Cancer risk went down by 33 per cent when people followed four of the steps, and 21 per cent for those following one or two, suggesting that you don’t have to be a complete angel when it comes to sticking to such health advice to potentially benefit.

When whether or not someone smoked was not taken into account, cancer risk when following five or six of the steps was 25 per cent less than that seen in those following none.

“We’re trying to help promote a comprehensive health message. Quitting smoking is very important, but there are other factors you need to be aware of if you want to live a healthy life,” commented the research’s lead author, Laura J. Rasmussen-Torvik.

“This adds to the strong body of literature suggesting that it’s never too late to change, and that if you make changes like quitting smoking and improving your diet, you can reduce your risk for both cardiovascular disease and cancer,” she added.

The research appeared in the journal 'Circulation'.