What To Eat For a Healthy Heart
As we celebrate World Health Day on April 7, we got Dr. Manoj Kutteri, the wellness Director at Atmantan Wellness Centre, Pune to list his top dietary tips for a healthy heart. Because the longer you live, the more you can eat!
Why Heart Health?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a term used to describe all diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Coronary heart disease (which includes heart attacks and angina) and stroke are common forms of CVD. A healthy lifestyle plays an important role in the prevention and management of CVD
Our heart beats about 2.5 billion times over the average lifetime, pumping millions of gallons of blood to every part of the body. It is an amazing fact to know how efficiently it works without stopping. However, the heart can also function at less than optimum efficiency due to poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, stress etc.
A healthy lifestyle, especially when started at a young age, goes a long way in preventing cardiovascular disease. Even if adapted after the development of a cardiovascular problem, a proper lifestyle change can help reverse such conditions.
Dos and Don’ts for Heart Health
- Go low on salt
Sodium is an important mineral that helps to maintain a balance of water in and around cells. It is also needed for maintaining optimum blood pressure for nerve and muscle functions. A person requires an average of less than 5gm of salt per day.
Excess intake of salt leads to storage of extra water in the body which in turn raises the blood pressure. When the blood pressure goes high, naturally there will be increased strain on the heart and blood vessels. It can also cause damage to kidneys, brain leading to kidney failure or stroke.
- Bid goodbye to those yummy fries
Oxidized fats in the fried foods that we consume are another killer for the heart. There are three main ways how oxidized cholesterol gets built up in your bloodstream - eating commercially fried foods, eating excess polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are found in vegetable oils; and cigarette smoking.
- Bust your stress
Stress affects our behaviors that can increase the risk of cardio vascular diseases. Continued exposure to long standing stress can result in persistently high levels of stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol that will influence the heart rate, blood pressure etc. Also high levels of stress can change the way our blood clots.
- Spice up your diet
Certain natural spices such as cinnamon, garlic, cayenne pepper etc., play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy heart. Cinnamon is quite useful in managing diabetes and also has a positive influence on blood markers. It helps to reduce the blood cholesterol which is one of the risk factors of cardio vascular problems.
Garlic contains vitamins C and B6, manganese, selenium and other antioxidants (allicin). They are highly effective against high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and cholesterol.
Capsaicin in Cayenne pepper helps stimulate the circulation of blood and enhances nutrient absorption. Cayenne is an extremely effective treatment for heart problems, palpitations and cardiac arrhythmia.
- Add fibre
Dietary fibre contains a unique blend of bioactive substances including resistant starches. Fibre is an excellent choice for boosting the metabolism thereby helping to get rid of the extra pounds of fat from the body.
Cholesterol is a strong predictor for heart diseases. Dietary fiber from whole grains, as part of an overall healthy diet, may help balance the blood cholesterol levels, and lower risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes.