The heart is an organ that beats for you lifelong, it is the most essential part of the body that needs to be taken care of. And that is largely in our own hands.
Studies show 50% of your heart health problems are genetically given to you and the other 50% is the lifestyle that you choose for yourself. The control you have over your heart health is a piece of happy news, knowing the growing rate of obesity and heart health problems, across the world, respectively.
According to WHO, in 2016, 17.6 million people lost their lives to heart diseases in India, and the issues were something that could be easily treated. Most of which were found in rural areas of the country.
Today we’ll be learning how to protect your heart as your life depends on it because it does. Let us have a look at 10 ways that can help you keep your heart healthier.
1. Veggies aren’t your foes
Vegetables are healthier the more you eat them. Take it as your heart’s favourite food. Fruits and vegetables contain the essential nutrients that your body cannot produce. But your body needs them to be healthy. Firstly, they provide your heart with healthy nutrients like fibre, antioxidants, potassium (K), vitamins A, B and C. Secondly, vegetables like spinach, broccoli or peppers contain fewer calories as well as carbohydrates. They also are a great supply of prebiotics, these are non-digestible carbs that are food for the good bacteria in our intestines
This is key as we’re learning more about the importance of a healthy gut microbiome to help prevent diseases. Chronic, low-level inflammation, is linked to many heart diseases, surprisingly Veggies also help reduce those. What you eat highly affects your bodily functions, eating more greens and veggies can give you a quality life and a healthy heart!
2. Know Your Animal Fat
There is a popular belief, that butter is good for your health. DO NOT BELIEVE IT. Animal fats or animal proteins - Saturated fats, are linked to elevated heart risks as they increase cholesterol.
Monounsaturated fats, on the other hand like olive oil, ghee, oils from nuts and polyunsaturated fats from fishes like salmon and sardines are great for the heart. The confusion between the animal fats puts everyone at heart health risks. It’s better to know and be informed.
3. Cut off on Added Sugar
People who eat the most sugar are always at higher risk of death from heart disease, even if they weren’t obese. A study found that living just about three months sugar-induced diet caused metabolism issues in healthy men and caused them to develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, boosting their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Added sugar is something that is not in food naturally. If you add honey in your tea that is added sugar. The sugar in a banana is not added.
Cutting on added sugar if your diet has them, can help your heart stay healthy and keep you healthy in return.
4. Smoking is Injurious
Are you a smoker? If so, know this, even smoking a single cigarette can make changes to your heart health putting you at risk with CVDs. Smoking can increase the risk of lung diseases, lungs transfer blood to your heart. It increases the chances of blood clots, reduces blood flow and puts you at an increased risk of a stroke.
It is never too late to quit though. The damage is easily reversible. One year of no smoking can make your heart healthy and 10 years of it can make you a non-smoker.
5. Consume Alcohol in Limit
Regular heavy drinking has never done any favour to you. It makes your heart muscles weak and induces irregular heart rhythms. Dementia, cancer and stroke can also be the result of the same practice.
But some studies show that alcohol in limit can be healthy for your heart.
Moderate drinking (up to a drink or two a day for women and men, respectively) links to lower cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), the research does not provide the cause and effects so it is a matter still being explored. For example, the benefit could be linked to the time you spend slowly drinking less amount around your loved ones, and that can be the cause of heart benefit.
6. Standing Up for Your Health
Prolonged sitting and not moving your body invites a lot of diseases like cardiovascular problems, diabetes, etc and is terrible for our bodies. If you work at a desk job, make sure to take time to stretch and move in proper intervals. Just ten minutes of those spurts of stretch through the day can help your fight the risk.
7. Watch Your Weight
Obesity is not new to the risks of heart diseases. It puts you at high risk of increased blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Being even overweight and not obese puts you at risk for insulin problems, which directly links to heart disease.
Your diet can save you from the risk. Start eating healthier and introduce healthy food and alternatives to your lifestyle. Having a balanced diet is a good way to counter the risks of weight gain. Having multiple meals designed with low calories can help you keep your weight in control and live healthily!
8. Stress is a Slow Killer
Believe it or not, stress can put your heart at risk 2.5% more than smoking or eating unhealthy. It puts your mind in constant fight, flight mode which can trigger inflammation, high BP and mental illness. But practising mindfulness can help you stay calm and learn to respond to stress one step at a time.
Practices like meditation and yoga can help bring your stress level down by a large percentage. It increases your blood circulation and keeps your heart in good health. In not that, early morning walks can also help fight stress, studies show.