World Heart Day is celebrated annually on 29th September to raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases including their prevention. Heart diseases can pose a serious health risk and can be life-threatening. It generally refers to conditions that involve blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke-causing permanent damage.
There are a lot of habits which alone or together contribute to heart disease and heart attack. For example, smoking, being inactive, overweight, poor eating habits, and drinking too much alcohol. These factors lead to disrupting the markers of health and wellbeing: blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Moreover, the harm isn’t limited to heart but can extend to the kidneys, bones, and brain.
Interestingly, cardiovascular disease is a preventable condition and a lot has to do with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is not only the best defense against heart diseases, but it’s also our responsibility too. By incorporating the following lifestyle changes we can keep heart diseases at a bay.
Maintaining a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet reduces your risk for heart disease in various ways, such as helping to lower high blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Certain food items should be avoided mainly because it leads to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers; like processed food items, salt, rapidly digested carbohydrates (from white breads, white rice, potatoes, and so on), red meat like beef, and soda or some other sugar-sweetened beverages. These foods can be saved for occasional indulgences to keep the heart-healthy.
Choless tablets are perfect for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. It contains essential ingredients like Guggul, which has proven to help maintain healthy cholesterol. It enlivens your diet. Try opting for a Mediterranean diet which is believed to lower the risk of stroke and protects from potential heart problems. Also, chia seeds can be consumed which cut down cholesterol from the body and blueberries which reduces the risk of heart disease.
Add fruits and vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fat, good protein (from beans, nuts, fish, and poultry), and herbs and spices.
Reduce the consumption of Alcohol and Smoke
Smoking tobacco is risky for anybody, but more specifically for alcoholics, it evens the individuals who are in recovery. Alcoholics are more susceptible to the dangers of heart disease than other smokers because years of heavy drinking damages and weakens the body’s immune systems. A bad habit like smoking and drinking are difficult to quit but taking the help of a health counselor can surely help.
Our heart is a muscle that needs to be worked regularly to stay strong and healthy. Exercise and other forms of physical activity like walking or swimming help in releasing mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercising not only keeps stress at bay, but it also protects against heart disease by lowering your blood pressure, strengthening the heart muscle, and helping in maintaining a healthy weight.
Reduce Stress and sleep properly
Stress causes a physiologic impact on the body including the heart. It is most evident in the case of severe and sudden acute stress. People who’ve received traumatic news like the death of a closed one have suffered an immediate heart attack, primarily because of the spike in hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Ideally, the cortisol level should be neither too high nor too low. The best way to balance cortisol levels is to have adequate sleep. Sleep is a restorative process that flushes toxins that accumulate in the brain. During sleep, the brain consolidates memory so that we can recall it properly when we wake up.
Ensuring dental Hygiene
Gum disease is connected to heart disease as it is caused by bacteria that can enter the blood stream and damage blood vessels. It can also result in blood clots that sooner or later lead to cardiac arrest. Hence, try visiting the dentist regularly and brush/floss twice a day.
(Disclaimer: Dr Vinod Kumar Tiwari, Head of Research & Development, Planet Herbs LifesciencesPvt Ltd. Views expressed are a personal opinion.)