Cardiac illness and heart attacks are the most common news of the recent era globally. As the density of these heart diseases is increasing so are the measures to reduce the risk. Whatever health condition we face is the result of the unhealthy lifestyle choices that we make. Our over dependence on processed foods, alcohol, comfortability and inactivity are the major reasons taking toll on our heart,the central engine of the body. The healthy need of the hour is to adopt a healthy lifestyle with balance diet and regular exercise.
Types of heart diseases
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack and stroke
- Enlarged heart
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart valve disease
- Thickening of heart walls
We all know the age-old saying, ‘Precaution is always better than cure’. Heart is the main organ which adds life & blood to our body. An uncared heart can lead to an unhealthy life. Heart disease depends on various factors and can be improved with following certain simple lifestyle changes and regular exercise.
- Plan a healthy diet
Diet plays an important role in our complete health. What we eat reflects on our body. Planning and following a heart healthy diet regime is very vital for proper nutrition to the pumping heart. A diet rich in nutrients and minerals should be taken at four short intervals. Fiber-rich whole grains, fruits &leafy vegetables, & nuts add essential inputs to your heart to pump healthy. Avoid intake of saturated fats, processed food and cholesterol.
- Stop smoking & exposure to passive smoking
Tobacco in any form is injurious to health and smoking is one major reason for Coronary heart disease. Nicotine increases blood pressure affecting brain functions and tar damages the lungs causing breathing problems.Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in blood, pumped by heart causing increased blood pressure which can lead to heart attack. Smoking not only affects the heart health of smokers but is more injurious to people around who aren’t smoking, in the form of passive smoking.
- Limit Alcohol intake
One of the most important tips for a healthy heart is limiting intake of alcohol. Excessive alcohol leads to weight gain and increased blood pressure putting excess pressure on heart muscles leading to heart attack or stroke. Heavy drinking makes the heart muscles weak and heartbeat irregular, with reduced pumping of blood to the vessels and breathlessness.
- Maintain healthy weight
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of heart disease by increasing the blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar level. Maintain a healthy weight with regular workouts and a fiber-rich weight loss balance diet consisting of vitamins, minerals and proteins. Men with waistline more than 40 inch and women with more than 35 inches are said to be overweight.
- Eat fish rather than red meat
Omega 3 fatty acids in fishes lower blood pressure and the growth of plaque that blocks the arteries preventing heart diseases. Oily fishes like sardines, salmon, tuna and herring are a rich source of fish oil omega 3 fatty acids that helps in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.3-4 servings of fish per week keeps heartbeat at normal rate &can reduce the risk of sudden death due to arrhythmia and hear attacks.
- Reduce salt intake
Excess salt has a direct impact on the blood pressure.Salt increases water retention which exerts more pressure on the blood vessels and arteries which in turn puts strain on the heart muscles. Reducing the amount of salt in foods can help maintain health blood pressure with a healthy heart. Avoid fast foods and processed items as they contain concentrated salts which can affect your heart.
- Manage stress
Our hectic lifestyle and work pressure adds to the level of anxiety and depression, the two major causes of raised blood pressure and heartbeat, which directly leads to heart diseases. Relax your mind through yoga, meditation and long walk to manage your stress effectively.
- Exercise regularly
Healthy activity keeps your heart healthy. Moderately intense workout for 30 minutes for at least 5 days a week increases the heart rate and helps in burning calories to control weight, cholesterol, diabetes & maintain blood pressure. Short walks, jogging, cycling and other activities that keep your heart beat maintained and blood circulation in flow keeps your heart happy.
- Controls blood pressure &cholesterol
Increased blood pressure and cholesterol exerts pressure to the heart, blood vessels and arteries leading damage to heart health.Prolonged high cholesterol in the blood increases plaque buildup that blocks the coronary artery and leads to stroke and heart attack. Keep a regular check on your blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Check on blood sugar level
People with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of developing heart disease. High level of insulin in blood causes inflammation in the linings of blood vessels.Diabetes restricts blood flow throughout the body and may lead to heart attack and stroke. Maintaining healthy blood sugar can be possible with diet changes.
The most influential risk factor of cardiovascular disease is age and genetic while above that greatest risk of heart disease is ignorance or misinformation about your health treatments& risks to be taken care of. If you treat the common risk factors, like diabetes you can easily manage to keep your heart healthy.
Introduce yourself to these lifestyle changes and you will experience the change in your heart health. A happy heart is very crucial for maintaining a healthy body.