Heart attacks, heart failures and other heart related ailments are a matter of most people’s concerns but somehow the awareness about how it can be prevented is not too widespread. While people are becoming more and more conscious about their health today, they constantly struggle to lead a healthy life owing to the invariable struggle for time in today’s world.
Cardiovascular diseases are lifestyle diseases and the risk factors need to be monitored on a regular basis. World heart Day celebrated on September 29, tries to focus on the growing concerns for heart health around the world and how we can prevent heart disease at an individual level by making sustained efforts throughout the year. Each year, millions of people succumb to cardiovascular disease and taking charge of your family’s heart health along with your own can go a long way in reducing the alarming numbers worldwide.
Below are simple tips to help you do the bare minimum to maintain a healthy heart:
Consume lots of greens: Soya, spinach, fenugreek, beans etc. are easily available everywhere, contain many minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium and vitamins such as K, C, E, A and B. Avoid junk or fried food high in saturated fat or ‘bad’ fat and sodium. Opt for healthy cooking oil which is the main source of fat used in most of Indian homes and also the cause of the daily intake of saturated fat. Oils like canola are one of the healthiest oils available in the market and are high in monounsaturated of ‘good’ fat and low in saturated or ‘bad’ fat. The oil is also neutral in taste which does not interfere with the flavors of a regular home-cooked meal.
Drink enough water: It helps transport nutrients, keeps the hydration levels intact and keeps the body temperature stable. If your heart pumping capacity is on the lower side, you may need to restrict your fluid intake. Green tea is another beverage you could add to your routine and consume. It is an excellent source of antioxidants that help dealing with bodily toxins, helps strengthen immunity and also fight against the everyday diseases that weaken immunity.
Try to stress less: In a world where neck-to-neck competition is an everyday state of being, we often tend to get over worked and stressed which directly effects our health in general and our heart in particular by causing hypertension. Do deep breathing exercises through the day and meditate whenever possible to calm your nerves. This helps distressing to a great extent.
Workout: As much of a struggle it may be to take time out of one’s busy schedule to exercise, it is imperative to understand the importance of it especially with the lifestyle we all lead today. Walking, cycling or other forms of simple cardio exercises for anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes a day helps your health to a great extent. Even a morning walk in fresh air can be exercise good enough to substantially improve heart health and make your heart stronger. It also regulates hypertension.
Stop smoking: Tobacco causes more than one-fifth of cardiovascular diseases worldwide. Replace your oral fixation cravings for a cigarette; with healthy snacks like salads without dressing, nuts like almonds, seeds like flaxseeds etc. There are smoking cessation products also available in the market that can help get rid of this deadly habit.
Dr. Aashish Contractor, Head of Department: Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation, Asian Heart Institute.