Turns out that taking a sauna bath could also prove to be an effective measure to ensure a healthy heart, reported a study carried by Journal Neurology. According to the study, frequent sauna bathing could reduce risk of heart stroke. The findings evaluated results based on a 15 year follow up study. It was revealed that people taking a sauna 4-7 times a week were 61% less likely to suffer a stroke than those taking a sauna once a week.
Heart attacks or strokes account for one of the leading causes of deaths across the world. The large scale study was conducted by a team of scientists from the Universities of Eastern Finland, Bristol, Leicester, Atlanta, Cambridge and Innsbruck.
The analysis is based on population-based Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) study. It involved 1,628 men and women aged 53 to 74 years living in the eastern part of Finland. Based on their frequency of taking traditional Finnish sauna baths (relative humidity 10-20%), the study participants were divided into three groups: those taking a sauna once a week, those taking a sauna 2-3 times a week, and those taking a sauna 4-7 times a week.
The findings revealed that as the frequency of sauna baths increased, there was a considerable reduction in risk of stroke.
As compared to people taking one sauna session per week, the risk was significantly decreased by 14% among those with 2-3 sessions and 61% among those with 4-7 sessions. Interestingly, the association remained even when taking into account conventional stroke risk factors, such as age, sex, diabetes, body mass index, blood lipids, alcohol consumption, physical activity and socio-economic status. The association was persistent in both men and women.
The researchers postulated that the association could be rooted in the fact that frequent sauna bathing result in blood pressure, stimulation of immune system, a positive impact on the autonomic nervous system, and an improved cardiovascular function. Sauna bathing was also shown to have acute effects on the stiffness of the arterial wall, hence influencing blood pressure and cardiac function parameters.
In addition to cardiovascular exercises and recreational activities, your diet also plays a crucial role in maintaining your heart health. Here are some foods you must make part of your daily diet to keep your heart healthy.
1. Oats: Oats are a power house of heart-friendly fibres. Oats contain a particular kind of fibre 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, thereby keeping the risk of heart ailments at bay.
2. Nuts: A handful of nuts are the best gift you could give to 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 could do wonders for your heart health. They are great for the heart and have plenty of antioxidants, proteins and fiber. 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 lots of soluble fiber, which could help keep your heart healthy.
5. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber 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.
You can also load up on fruits like oranges, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, carrots and papaya are all rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, potassium, folate and fiber which really good for the heart.