On the occasion of World Heart Day that is falling on Thursday, September 29, 2016, we bring you ways to take charge of your heart’s health and keep it safe from diseases. Because well, a healthy heart is a healthy life!
By following a healthy lifestyle, you can ensure of keeping your heart healthier, which will thereby lead to a happier, fuller life. Here is what you need to do.
The first thing needed for a healthy heart is a healthy diet or, should I say a balanced diet low in fat and sugar. Avoid sodium, trans and saturated fats. You should prefer in-taking food having fibers and antioxidants. The fruits and vegetables that come with skin such as cucumber, carrot and apple, must be eaten along with their skin as it holds nutrients vital for your health.
Good food with no or minimal exercise doesn’t do much good to the health of your heart and body. So, get moving. If not proper exercise, at least go jogging. And the excuse of having no time for that is lame. Even Barrack Obama and Hrithik Roshan go jogging. If they can make time for it, you sure can. Start with smaller walks/jogs as even small steps can make a big difference to your heart’s health and life. A 30 minutes jog is considered good enough to charge your heart and relax your mind.
While it’s been well-known that smoking leads to lung cancer, not many know that it is also a major factor of heart health. So, if you’re a smoker, this one is the most obvious thing to start with for a healthy heart. You’ll not only get healthier but will save a lot of money that is spent on those useless cigarettes.
Salt is a major culprit in causing unhealthy blood pressure levels and causing coronary heart diseases. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, if all of US people reduce their salt intake to just half teaspoon a day, they can significantly reduce the healthcare costs in America.
You must watch out for high salt intakes. Avoid using salt at the table and prefer adding less of it to the food you prepare. Always keep a check on your salt intake through processed fast food, ready-made packaged foods and the restaurant food.
As an adult you should consume less than 6 g of salt in a day, that’s only about one teaspoon. Try reducing the amounts gradually and you’ll get used to the taste of the food with lesser amounts of salt over time.
While typing those LOLs on social media and messaging apps is a very common practice, do we actually laugh that much in real life? Why not? Start laughing for real on your friends’ jokes or over comedy movies as laughter can actually be very good for your heart and overall health, even beauty as well (are you listening ladies?!).
Laughter lowers stress hormones, decreases inflammation in your arteries and raises your levels of high-density lipoprotein HLD, which is also known as ‘good cholestrol’. So laugh!
Being obese can increase the risk of high blood pressure, high blood triglycerides (fats), low levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and heart diseases, so it is important to maintain the right body weight. Maintaining your weight will also reduce the risk of health conditions like diabetes, which indirectly affects your heart as well.
Check if you have the right weight using the BMI calculator and work towards maintaining it if it does not fall in the healthy category.
Chocolates are loved by almost everyone. But did you ever think eating dark chocolates that contain cocoa butter can actually be good/healthy for you?
One-third of the fat present in cocoa butter is stearic acid. Your liver converts this stearic acid into a healthy monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which actually lowers levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and boosts levels of the good one (HDL).
Other than this, the multiple anti-inflammatory compounds in cocoa help in fighting chronic vascular inflammation, improve flexibility in blood vessels, thereby reduce blood pressure and keep platelets from clogging up your artery walls, all of which saves you from the risk of heart diseases.
If you are a non-vegetarian and love fish, here is your license to consume fish at least twice a week. Yes you can have fish twice a week and include a portion of oily fish. Studies show that fish like mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna and salmon help reduce the risk of heart diseases as they are rich in omega-3 fats. However, pregnant women mustn’t have more than two portions of oily fish in a week.
Researchers believe that green tea works on the lining of your blood vessels to keep them relaxed, helps blood vessels in dealing with changes in blood pressure and prevents clotting of blood, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks. You should drink at least one cup of green tea every day to prevent heart diseases.
Stats show that people who sleep for less than 5 hours a day have 30% greater risk of developing heart diseases when compared to the ones who sleep for 8 hours a day.
Lack of good sleep causes compression of the blood vessels, increases blood pressure, affects regulation of sugar in the blood and contributes to the development of vascular diseases, which eventually result in heart diseases.
For those who neglect their body’s sleeping needs under work pressure or because of the internet monster, this one is for you. Keep your gadgets away and sleep peacefully on time for a healthier heart and a healthier life!
This World Heart Day, let’s vow to practice a healthy lifestyle and keep our hearts safe!