- Add healthy fast to your diet such as omega-3 fatty acids
- Exercise regularly to boost your overall health
- Stress can take a toll on your heart health if left uncontrolled
Taking care of the heart is important as it is one of the most vital organs in the body. It is the heart that keeps one alive by pumping blood to all the other organs. The incidence of heart diseases has majorly risen over the years due to factors such as diabetes, hypertension, unhealthy diet and obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and consumption of alcohol and tobacco. It is vital to take immediate action and bring about modifications in your lifestyles to reduce the burden of heart diseases. One must lead a heart-healthy lifestyle, as the benefits of a healthy heart can also have a positive impact on overall well-being. Having a strong heart can protect against complications linked with several chronic conditions. While age has been a primary risk factor for heart diseases, over the years, more and more youth are getting detected with heart ailments due to the evolution of lifestyles. Therefore, it is important to start taking care of the heart from early on in life to prevent fatalities at a later stage.
Steps to have a healthy heart:
1. Making healthy food choices -
- Whole Grains - It is recommended to include at least one type of whole grain in daily meals such as cereals and millets
- Omega 3-rich foods - Seeds like flaxseed and chia seeds are best sources for omega-3
- Green leafy vegetables - Include more greens in daily diet as they are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, especially, heart-friendly vitamin K
- Herbs - Avoid table salt and add herbs to add flavour to the food
- Olive and mustard oil - Use olive and mustard oil to cook as they contain healthy fats, which are good for the heart
- Nuts and seeds - A handful of almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts etc. every day must be consumed
2. Hydrate yourself -
Besides drinking water throughout the day, keep yourself hydrated with other healthy drinks like coconut water, lemon, smoothies and homemade drinks with low sugar and salt content.
3. Exercising regularly -
Exercise can lower the risk of developing plaque in the arteries which reduce blood flow. The key is to get up and move, go for a walk, or do some push-ups or sit-ups. As per WHO, it is recommended to do at least 150-300 minutes of physical activity/workout every week.
4. Managing stress and mental well-being -
Managing stress can help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Stress is often associated with high blood pressure and exposes the body to elevated levels of stress hormones. There are breathing exercises and meditation which can help manage stress.
5. Controlling blood pressure-
High blood pressure is a common ailment and one of the leading causes for heart diseases such as heart attacks, failure, and others. One must keep a regular check on the blood pressure and consume a diet that helps reduce hypertension.
Importance of monitoring the heart:
While the above precautionary measures can help keep heart health within check, it is important, especially for heart patients to monitor their heart regularly. The advent of medical technologies like remote monitoring has now made it possible for patients to monitor their heart within the comfort of their home and transmit information about the same to their doctor remotely. Early reaction also helps improve patient outcomes.
Also read: Heart Healthy Habits
When to consult a doctor?
Most people might avoid consulting a doctor due to the commonalty of the symptoms experienced in heart diseases, however, it is important to seek medical help if experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath, palpitations, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, pain in the neck, jaw, throat, rapid or irregular heartbeat.
(Dr. Tejas Patel, Chairman and Chief Interventional Cardiologist, Apex Heart Institute, Ahmedabad)
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