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How to Keep Heart Healthy?

Did you know that the heart pumps an average of 2,000 gallons of blood every day? It beats at an average of about 75 times in 60 seconds. As the heart pumps, the pressure pushes the blood to flow and deliver oxygen and essential nutrients through an extensive network of arteries, and it returns the blood flow through a network of veins. Your heart is one of the hardest-working organs in the body. 


Yet, we neglect the most vital organ we have. Heart disease is one of the primary causes of death in India and worldwide. An increasing number of people in various age groups face the risk of heart disease due to stress and unhealthy lifestyles and are unaware of how to keep heart healthy. The good news is that you can avert and even reverse heart risks by improving your lifestyle. 


The first step is to follow a healthy daily regimen to sustain a healthy heart and reduce your risk of heart-related complications. And the pattern of food you eat over days, weeks and months is crucial. You can develop your fitness plan with the help of experts or by the following advice during a cardiologist consultation and a detailed cardiac risk marker test


The following are some suggestions about how to maintain a healthy heart


  1. The food on your plate

Choose more vegetables and fruits in your meals. Vegetables and fruits are whole foods and primary sources of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fibre. A plant-rich meal plan is how to keep your heart healthy and strong. They contain nutrients that help prevent cardiovascular disease. Also, include whole grains to help regulate blood pressure and heart health. Grains are good fibre and a great nutrient source; you can choose whole grains over refined grain products. A meal plan rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is a healthier replacement for high-calorie foods like meat, fried foods, snacks and desserts. Plan ahead, keep vegetables and fruits washed and cut in your fridge for quick snacks. 


  1. How much you eat 

It is essential to control your portion size. The quantity you consume is just as crucial as the quality of the food you eat and is how to keep your heart healthy. Loading your plate or taking second helpings and eating until you feel stuffed will compel you to eat more than your stomach can digest, as you are eating more calories than you should. Here are tips to control food portion size that can help improve your health and is how to keep heart healthy:


  • Use a small plate or bowl to control your portions
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables, which are low-calorie and nutrient-rich foods 
  • Eat smaller helpings of high-calorie and processed foods, such as fast or junk food


  1. Limit unhealthy fats

If an immediate family member has a heart condition, there are more chances of suffering from the same or similar condition in your lifetime. A cardiologist consultation will guide you about how to keep your heart healthy. Cutting down or phasing out foods that contain saturated and trans fats, like fried and packaged foods, is key to reducing your blood cholesterol and lowering your risk of heart disease. A high blood cholesterol level leads to a build-up of plaques in the arteries over time, escalating the risk of heart failure or stroke.


Legumes like beans, peas and lentils are excellent low-fat sources of protein that contain no cholesterol, making them great substitutes for meat. Substituting plant protein for animal protein, for instance, selecting a soy or bean burger for a hamburger, will reduce fat and cholesterol intake and increase fibre intake.


Choose to eat healthy fats and not trans fats. We require healthy fats, including saturated, polyunsaturated, and unsaturated fats. Trans fat blocks the arteries by increasing your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and decreasing your good cholesterol levels (HDL). It increases your risk of developing heart disease or stroke over a lifetime, and continued neglect of these warning signs is not how to keep your heart healthy. Once you phase out foods with trans fats, you improve the blood flow throughout your body. Trans fats are industry-produced fats used in packaged, canned, baked, or snack products, including fried and fast foods, to add flavour and texture.


  1. Reduce salt or sodium intake

Too much salt or sodium can trigger high BP, a risk factor for heart disease. The first step is to limit the salt in your foods or while cooking. Much of your salt intake comes from processed foods, such as soups, baked goods, canned foods, and frozen dinners. Eating fresh foods and making your soups and stew can reduce the amount of salt you eat. Generally, healthy adults have no more than 1,000-1500mg of sodium daily. Another way to optimise salt intake is to choose your condiments carefully. Many sauces are available in reduced-sodium versions. Salt substitutes like garlic, lemon juice or zest, and ground black pepper, can add flavour to your food with less sodium.


  1. Plan your daily meals ahead 

Create delicious daily menus ahead of time. You can also pre-plan your weekly menu on your day off to ensure that your pantry and fridge are well-stocked with healthy options. When selecting foods for each meal or snack, emphasise whole foods like veggies, fruits, and whole grains. This way, you are sorted with wholesome protein and healthy fats sources and limit junk foods. Add variety to make meals and snacks more enjoyable, which is how to keep heart healthy and strong.


  1. Read food labels 

Read the labels and ingredients listed on the reverse side of the food packages/snack packs you buy. If you prefer the convenience of canned and easy-to-make pre-prepared meals, go for products with no added salt or reduced sodium and reduced sugar and trans fats. Trans fat appears on the ingredients list as partially hydrogenated oils. Look for ‘0 per cent trans fat’. Make it a point to avoid eating foods with trans fat.


  1. Stay active

Stay active and avoid watching TV or over-surfing on the web. Researchers found that those with sedentary lifestyles face more risk of cardiovascular events. So, avoid sitting for long periods at your desk. Also, sitting for long periods (especially when travelling) increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot). Get into a regular habit of moving throughout the day. Take frequent breaks from your desks; you can also use a standing workstation to move up and down. And remember to exercise regularly. 


  1. Make sleep a priority

Restful sleep is essential to keeping yourself healthy and optimising your heart functioning and also is how to keep your heart healthy. If you miss adequate sleep, you may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, regardless of age or other healthy habits. Researchers have found that inadequate sleep causes disruptions in your circadian rhythms, which affect your underlying health conditions and biological processes, including blood pressure and inflammation. Ensure that you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. If you have insomnia or sleep apnea, speak to your cardiologists, and get yourself treated, as the condition is linked to heart disease and other heart-related complications.


  1. Floss your teeth regularly

Dental health is a good indicator of overall health, including your heart. Bacteria in the mouth can move into the bloodstream and increase the C-reactive protein levels, which may increase your risk of heart disease or stroke. Practice good dental hygiene daily, like flossing your teeth.


  1. Balance your health & lifestyle choices

Balancing your lifestyle is more than just exercising and losing weight is also how to keep your heart healthy. Researchers have found that smoking contributes to premature heart disease-related deaths and lung cancer deaths. It damages the lining of your arteries, reduces the oxygen level in your blood, and raises your blood pressure. Also, over-consumption of alcohol can trigger high BP, abnormal heart rhythms, and damage to the heart muscle. You don’t have to give it up completely; consume alcoholic beverages in moderation.


Cut down on stress


Stress triggers more than 1,400 biochemical responses, including increased BP and a faster heart rate. Manage your stress better. Reduce your unnecessary workload and ensure you get time to unwind and relax with your dear ones. The risk of stress on your heart can trigger heart complications, and you may face a health crisis that will be difficult to reverse in your later years. 


Adopt the earlier pointers, and these improved lifestyle choices can go a long way toward helping you live a fulfilling life and sustain a healthy heart.


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About The Author

Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

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