Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), or heart diseases, are the world’s number 1 killer, as per the World Health Organisation. They claim approximately 18.6 million lives every year. Strikingly, Indians account for one-fifth of these deaths. This clearly shows that Indians are highly prone to getting CVDs. Several factors such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, stress, etc can increase the risk of a person developing heart disease. Gladly, Ayurveda can help in this. Dr Anand Dwivedi, Ayurveda expert at Kapiva Academy of Ayurveda, has shared some tips based on this ancient medicine system that can help in preventing CVDs.
But before we delve into these tips, it’s crucial to understand heart diseases better. As the name suggests, they are the issues linked to the functioning of the heart. It isn’t a single disease, but an umbrella term for a host of heart-related ailments.
What Comprises A Heart Disease?
As you know, heart disease includes a wide range of health issues related to the heart. Here are some of the heart diseases:
- Arrhythmia: In this, the heart beats at an abnormal rate.
- Atherosclerosis: It refers to when arteries, which transport the blood from the heart to the rest of the body, get hardened.
- Cardiomyopathy: It’s when the heart muscles either harden or get weak.
- Congenital heart defects: These are heart defects that are present since birth.
- Ischemic heart: When there is plaque buildup in the heart arteries, it is called coronary artery disease, or ischemic heart disease.
- Infections: Several bacterias, viruses, and fungi can cause infections in the heart.
What Are The Factors That Can Cause CVDs?
Just as heart disease can mean a number of diseases, there are a number of factors that can lead to them. Here are some of the common ones:
- Family history
- High cholesterol level
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol use
- Stress & anxiety
Ayurveda Tips To Prevent Heart Diseases
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Dr Dwivedi has enlisted below some Ayurveda-based tips to prevent heart diseases:
- Food: It has a direct impact on your heart health. Hence make it a habit to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, complex carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. At the same time, stay away from fried and processed foods.
- Yoga: Being physically active is important to keep your heart healthy. In fact, you should exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. And what’s better than the ancient practice of Yoga? There are several Yoga routines and poses that are good exercises for the heart muscles. You can practice surya namaskar (sun salutations) and pranayama to keep your heart healthy.
- Stress Management: As you know that stress is among the factors that cause heart diseases. Since nowadays people are often exposed to stressful situations at home and at work, it has become all the more crucial to manage stress. Dr Dwivedi recommends chanting and breathing exercises for it. Once you practice these, your heart rate gets back to normal, and you feel calm and relaxed.
- Lifestyle Changes: Not only these, but there also are some lifestyle changes that you must make to keep heart diseases at bay. Hence, quit smoking, limit your alcohol consumption and manage your weight.
- Ayurvedic Supplements & Therapies: Ayurveda contains several supplements that can prevent heart diseases. One such supplement that Ayurveda recommends is a combination of karela (bitter gourd), amla (Indian gooseberry), jamun (Java plum), and guduchi (moonseed). This combination helps in controlling the blood sugar level, thus managing diabetes, which in turn might help in preventing CVDs. However, you must consult an Ayurveda doctor before taking this. Several therapies are also available in Ayurveda, which can manage CVDs. Such as Saman Therapy and Rasayana Therapy.
(With inputs from Dr Anand Dwivedi, an Ayurveda expert at Kapiva Academy of Ayurveda)