World Heart Day: 5 Lifestyle Habits That Can Prevent Heart Disease And Reduce Heart Attack Risk
World Heart Day: This World Heart Day, Dr Vinod Kumar Tiwari raises awareness about some of the most effective lifestyle tips for reducing risk of heart disease. Read here to know all about them.
2019 World Heart Day: Quit smoking and alcohol for a healthy heart
- Be physically active for a healthy heart
- Take less stress and sleep properly
- Eat a healthy diet to prevent heart disease
World Heart Day is celebrated annually on 29th September to raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases and tips for their prevention. Heart diseases can pose a serious health risk and can be life-threatening. Heart disease is referred to blocked arteries or plaque in arteries 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 physically 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.
This Heart Day, we spoke to Dr Ritika Samaddar, chief dietician at Max Healthcare. Watch video to know about the foods she suggests for a healthy heart.
Heart Day: Lifestyle changes to prevent heart disease
Cardiovascular diseases are preventable and have a lot to do with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. By incorporating the following lifestyle changes you can keep heart diseases at a bay.
1. Eat healthy
Eating a healthy diet reduces your risk for heart disease in various ways. It can lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Certain food items should be avoided mainly because they lead 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.
Try opting for a Mediterranean diet which is believed to lower the risk of stroke and protects from potential heart problems. Also, you can include chia seeds and blueberries in your diet, the two can help in reducing cholesterol levels. Also include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fat, good protein (from beans, nuts, fish, and poultry), and herbs and spices.
2. Reduce consumption of alcohol and quit smoking
Smoking tobacco is risky for anybody, but more specifically for alcoholics. 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. Take professional help for quitting smoking and alcohol at the earliest.
3. Be active
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.
4. 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 have experienced mental trauma have often been reported to die from 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.
5. Maintain dental hygiene
Gum disease is connected to heart disease as it is caused by bacteria that can enter the bloodstream 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.
(Dr. Vinod Kumar Tiwari, Head of Research & Development, Planet Herbs Lifesciences Pvt Ltd.)
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