World Heart Day 2021: Boost Your Heart Health With These Diet Tips
World Heart Day: A healthy diet can help you promote heart health. Here are some simple diet tips you can follow to give a boost to your heart health.
World Heart Day: Eat a well balanced diet to control the risk factors of heart disease
According to a 2018 study published in The Lancet, India has witnessed an alarming increase in non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for 28% of all deaths in India. South Asians have a higher risk for heart disease owing to the genetic makeup, a fact already documented in several epidemiological studies. It's important to start being more cognizant of your lifestyle and lipid levels. Leading a healthy lifestyle is the best way to look after your heart. Here are some ways to do it.
Firstly, check your serum lipid levels and make a conscious effort to keep them within the normal range. This is imperative in building your overall heart health. Avoid trans fats and reduce the intake of saturated fats - this is a small change but has a significant impact. You could instead opt for foods with monounsaturated fats like almonds, avocados, sesame seeds, and salmon.
According to a study done in 2018, a daily snack of 42 grams of almonds, consumed as part of an overall healthy diet, improved some of the heart disease risk factors. In addition to significantly improving HDL cholesterol, snacking on almonds also reduced central adiposity (belly fat) and waist circumference, all well-established heart disease risk factors.
Secondly, keep close tabs on your weight and what you eat. Major contributors to heart disease include high blood pressure, increased blood sugar levels, and elevated levels of triglycerides, and these factors are often linked to abdominal fat. Incorporating small changes to your diet can go a long way in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Including healthy snacks such as sprouted and steamed channa, boiled corn, fresh fruit salad, flavoured almonds, will help in keeping you satiated and aid in weight management as well as your overall health.
Thirdly, it's important to be conscious of both physical and mental wellbeing. Before taking up any form of exercise, confirm with your doctor what kind of physical activity is suited for you. Exercises can range from yogasana or a brisk walk to vigorous workouts such as Zumba or swimming. As a post-workout snack, you can eat almonds, carrot sticks with hummus, boiled corn, or drink a fruit smoothie to satiate your hunger. Doing things that make you happy and spending quality time with people you love will do wonders for your mental wellbeing.
Lastly, bid farewell to smoking. According to the World Heart Federation smoking is estimated to cause nearly 10 % of CVD and is the second leading cause of CVD, after high blood pressure.
(Sheela Krishnaswamy is a Nutritionist and Wellness consultant)
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