Air Pollution May Alter Heart Structure And Affect Heart Health: 5 Heart-Friendly Foods 

The researchers claimed that people exposed to even low levels of air pollution can have changes in the structure of the heart, similar to those seen in the early stages of heart failure.

Air Pollution May Alter Heart Structure And Affect Heart Health: 5 Heart-Friendly Foods

Air pollution may take a severe toll on heart health by making changes in the structure of heart, warned a new study. The researchers claimed that people exposed to even low levels of air pollution can have changes in the structure of the heart, similar to those seen in the early stages of heart failure.
Air pollution is referred to as the presence of harmful chemicals, particulates and gasses in the air we breathe which could further result in dangerous medical conditions. 

The findings revealed that for every one extra microgram per cubic metre of PM2.5 -- small particles of air pollution -- and for every 10 extra microgram per cubic metre of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), the heart enlarges by approximately 1 per cent. The Britain-based study was published in the journal Circulation. 

"Although our study was observational and hasn't yet shown a causal link, we saw significant changes in the heart, even at relatively low levels of air pollution exposure," said one of the researchers Nay Aung from Queen Mary University of London.

The researchers looked at data from around 4,000 participants in the UK Biobank study, where volunteers provided a range of personal information, including their lifestyles, health record and details on where they have lived. For the study, participants also had to undergo blood tests and health scans. Their heart MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) was used to measure the size, weight and function of hearts at fixed times.

The team found a clear association between those who lived near loud, busy roads, and were exposed to nitrogen dioxide or PM2.5 and the development of larger right and left ventricles in the heart.

The ventricles are important pumping chambers in the heart and, although these participants were healthy and had no symptoms, similar heart remodelling is seen in the early stages of heart failure.

Higher exposures to the pollutants were linked to more significant changes in the structure of the heart.
According to World Health Organisation about 17.7 million people die of cardiovascular diseases each year. Your diet plays a crucial role in keeping your heart strong. Here are five foods you must include in your daily diet to boost heart health. 

1. Oats: Oats are known to contain a type of fiber that helps bind bile acids and expel them from the body. These bile acids are made from cholesterol. A diet that includes oats is effective in lowering the cholesterol levels in our body.

2. Nuts: Munching on a handful of nuts can do wonders for your heart. These nuts have high amounts of unsaturated fats that are good for your heart as they help in reducing the inflammation of the arteries. 

3. Legumes: Legumes are great for the heart and have antioxidants, proteins and fibre. They are also a great source to get your folate requirement from and also help in increasing the platelet activity.

4. Berries: Berries are full of heart-healthy phytonutrients and fibre. Make a quick smoothie or sprinkle them over your breakfast cereal. 

5. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and phytoestogens and all of these help in boosting heart health. It is best to soak or grind flaxseeds before consuming them to derive maximum health benefits.

(With inputs IANS) 

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