In today’s sedentary lifestyle, it becomes imperative to lead a healthier heart regime. Good heart health is as important as maintaining an overall active lifestyle. In fact, cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of human death irrespective of age, gender, and region. However, the morbidity and mortality due to heart diseases are increasing mainly due to environmental factors and unhealthy living habits. That is why it becomes more important to build a lifestyle that makes our heart young and healthy. It requires a great deal of attention to lead a healthy lifestyle, hence preventive measures including a healthy diet and lifestyle can go a long way to combat heart health ailments.
Steps towards a healthy heart:
Besides genetic factors which cannot be controlled, there are some ways to adopt a healthy lifestyle and minimize the threat of developing heart disease and keep the heart in good health:
1. Be physically active
Physical activity is the initial step towards a heart-healthy plan. Regular exercise helps in controlling weight and managing obesity because obesity is linked with numerous heart diseases.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Keeping a healthy body weight is a significant factor for many chronic illnesses, including heart disease as well. Being overweight can elevate the risk of heart disease, even in the absence of other risk factors. That's why maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to protect the heart from damage or fatigue. When a person's weight is within a healthy range, blood circulates more effectively, and vital fluid levels are well managed, preventing pressure on the heart and keeping the heart in a healthy condition.
3. Eat a healthy diet
Food consumption plays a huge role in improving heart health. If not consumed correctly, they may cause weight gain or develop high cholesterol levels in the body. Both of these conditions are not good for the heart. To prevent or manage cholesterol, one should steer clear of food with high content of saturated fats, such as processed foods. The fat in these food products raises cholesterol levels in the blood. Therefore, one should eat a healthy diet regularly.
Simple ways to improve heart health
Consuming a healthy diet helps in weight management, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Here are a few changes people can adopt in their diet to help prevent heart disease:
a) Eating less salt: Reducing salt intake is good for controlling high blood pressure and ultimately reducing strain on the heart.
b) Cutting from unhealthy fats to healthy fats: Replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats is a way to turn down the risk of heart disease.
c) Limiting alcohol intake: Limiting alcohol is a way to prevent numerous diseases, including heart disease.
d) Eating a nutrition rainbow: Adding fresh fruits and vegetables of varied colours in the diet is healthy for overall health, including heart as well.
e) Eating whole grains: Choosing whole grains over refined grains is also a way towards a healthy heart.
4. Manage high blood pressure
Maintaining average blood pressure is very important for heart health. Uncontrollable high blood pressure is considered one of the most deceptive risk factors for heart disease, and most of the time, there are no physical symptoms associated with it. However, untreated high blood pressure can cause damage to arteries and the heart. Therefore, people with fluctuating blood pressure levels should try to maintain healthy levels to keep the heart-related problems at bay.
5. Manage high cholesterol
Higher levels of cholesterol increase the possibility of developing heart disease. Too much bad cholesterol (LDL) and inadequate good cholesterol (HDL) may result in the deposition of plaque on the arterial walls. With time, arteries with plaque become harder and narrower, resulting in stroke and coronary heart disease. Hence regular checkup for blood cholesterol levels is foremost important.
6. Control diabetes level
Diabetes is one such example of how a person's health condition can start a series of other chronic issues, namely hypertension, and high cholesterol. According to WHO, more than 65% of the population with diabetes experiences stroke or cardiovascular diseases. People with diabetes must check their blood glucose levels regularly and keep it on the right track.
7. Manage stress
For a healthy heart, one should live a stress-free life as stress may cause a strain on the heart that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Stress-relieving exercise, meditation or yoga are considered helpful.
8. Quit smoking
Smoking tobacco and cigarettes raise an individual's risk of developing heart disease by forming plaque in the arterial walls. Plaque hardens the arteries and makes the heart difficult to work. Quitting smoking is always beneficial for keeping the heart health and many ailments under check.
An active lifestyle with few easy modifications in diet and routine can help one to maintain a healthier heart and a happier life.