Do you know Cardio vascular diseases are the leading cause of deaths in world? This silent yet lethal disease has surpassed all types of cancers in killing people. Each year almost 18 million lives are lost to heart diseases; which is 31% of total deaths in world.
Previously heart diseases were linked with old ages but now heart diseases are increasing at alarming rate in young people too. News of people in mid 20s and 30s with heart attacks are so common now. It’s high time we start taking care of our hearts before it gets too late!Keep risk factors at bay. High blood sugar, high blood pressure, high levels of blood cholesterol, obesity, sedentary lifestyle are few risk factors of heart diseases. An overall healthy lifestyle with balanced diet can minimize all the risk factors.
In this blog, lets prioritize our health and take a sneak peek to ways making our heart healthy and young. With some efforts we can ensure better heart health
1. Put restriction to sugar and salt
Both sugar and salt are essential to inject taste to food, but excess of any of these can be threatening to our health. Consider healthy substitutes like jaggery, honey whenever possible.
2. Cut down on saturated fat
Fats are essential for body’s functioning, but we need to be cautious of what type of fat we are eating. Saturated and trans-fats (LDL-low density lipoproteins) are bad for our heart; while good fats (HDL- high density lipoproteins) protects our heart from arteriosclerosis. HDL reduces LDL and further protects heart from damage.
- Avoid refined grains like refined flour, white sugar, white rice, deep fried foods, chips, margarine etc
- Include fatty fishes, nuts, whole grains dark chocolate, eggs to boost HDL
3. Include more heart friendly foods in daily diet
• Vegetables, whole grains, fruits, fish, nuts are good for heart. Fishes have omega 3 fatty acids which protects heart and many other organs. Include fishes, walnuts, flax seeds, oats, avacados in diet.
• Cut on red meat and processed foods.
• Use less oil for cooking, choose better options like steaming, grilling, boiling.
• Use cooking oil with more mono-saturated fats and less trans-fat. Always read labels of food products before purchasing.
4. Stop smoking
Smoking is associated with increased risk of clogging in arteries and lower HDL (High density lipoproteins i.e. good cholesterol). HDL protects heart. There are additional risk of high blood pressure and development of blood clots with smoking.
Quitting smoking reduces risk of heart attack to half within a year. Avoid both smoking and passive smoking.
5. Reduce alcohol intake
Some studies show that very small amount of alcohol is good for heart, but the disadvantages of alcohol are must bigger threat. Alcohol damages liver in long run and causes weight gain, which is certainly not good for our heart.
6. Reduce stress levels
Stress is a very potent reason of high blood pressure and heart diseases.
• Practice breathing exercises
• Yoga and meditation may help reducing high blood pressure
• Enjoy family time and indulge in hobbies and relaxing activities
• Take regular vacations and rejuvenate yourself
• Enjoy a good self- motivation book to keep negative energies at bay
• Always focus on keeping positive attitude towards life
7. Exercise daily and keep your weight in check
Exercise is not only a blessing for heart health but is beneficial for your general well- being. Exercise prevents many lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, PCOD, etc.
• Regular brisk walking or jogging is very good for heart health
• If, you are not a fan of hard-core gym, do whatever exercise you like. Swimming, dancing, aerobics also are very good form of exercise.
• Exercising in open air boosts metabolism and keeps weight in check
8. Refreshing and adequate sleep
Refreshing sleep decreases the risk of both heart attack and brain stroke. People with sleeping issues have high level of cortisol which is linked with heart diseases
• Limit your screen time, put off all social media at least 30 minutes before sleep. This ensures calm mind and drifting to sleep quickly.
• Take minimum of 8 hours sleep
• Listening to slow songs before sleep in dark and cool room helps in falling asleep fast
9. Dental care
One might wonder how dental care is linked with heart health; well periodontal diseases are linked with heart diseases. Bacteria from mouth can infect heart too.
• Brush your teeth twice daily
• Floss your mouth regularly
• Consider visit to dentist at least once a year even if you have no dental problems. Prevention is better than cure.
10. Regular health check ups
Regular monitoring of blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels may diagnose many heart problems in initial stages and may prevent damage to heart.
If, you have any family history of heart disease be more vigilant with your heart health. Having any first degree relative with heart diseases put you at very high risk.
But with adequate measures you can beat the disadvantage of genetic predisposition of heart disease.
Be proactive and start your heart care today!