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Seven ways to keep your heart healthy

By Dr. Rahul Chandola in Health And Wellness

Nov 08 , 2020 | 3 min read

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Studies have shown that people, who meet three to four of life's simple measures, reduce their risk of heart-related death by more than half. Below are the measures to keep your heart healthy:

Eat Better, Sleep Better

Eat more fruits and vegetables: A diet full of a variety of fruits, vegetables is linked to healthier heart and a low risk of heart disease.

Swap to wholegrain: They have more nutrients like dietary fibre, vitamin B, vitamin E, and healthy fats. Switch to healthy fat: The best fats to include in your diet are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (omega-3 and omega-6) fats. You can find these healthier fats in avocados, nuts, fish and sunflower seeds. Avoid trans fat.

Curb salt intake: The sodium in salt can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease.

Stop drinking your calories: Cutting out just one sugar-sweetened soda or calorie-laden latte can easily save you 100 or more calories a day.

Have a handful of nuts: Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and other nuts are good for your heart.

A healthy eating pattern is rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, and non-tropical vegetable oils (i.e., cooking with olive oil instead of coconut or palm oils). A healthy diet also limits intake of sweets and desserts, sugar-sweetened beverages, red meats and processed foods.

Sleep enough: Those who sleep fewer than six hours per night are about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who sleep six to eight hours per night.

Get Active

• Sit less - Biggest service you can do to your heart health, is by sitting less. Adults who sit less throughout the day have a lower risk of early death, particularly from heart disease.

• Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day - Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, swimming and mowing the lawn.

• If possible, do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set for major muscles, 12 to 15 repetitions.

Lose Weight

58 per cent of diabetes mellitus globally and 21 per cent of chronic heart disease are attributable to a body mass index above 21. When you shed extra fat and unnecessary pounds, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and skeleton.

Manage Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Blood pressure over 140/90mmHg is generally considered to be high. Prolonged hypertension eventually leads to heart failure with a median time of 14.1 years. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys.failure with a median time of 14.1 years. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys.

Stop Smoking

Smoking makes you four times more likely to die of heart attack or stroke and three times more likely to die from sudden cardiac death. Persist, practice and reach out for support in order to quit. Practice good dental hygiene, especially flossing your teeth daily. Dental hygiene is a good indication of overall health, including your heart, because those who have periodontal (gum) disease often have the same risk factors for heart disease.

Control Cholesterol

High cholesterol contributes to plaque, which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke. Try avoiding foods that contain trans fat, as it is known to increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke over a lifetime. This is because trans fat clogs your arteries by raising your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lowering your good cholesterol levels (HDL) So, what are trans fats? They are industry-produced fats often used in packaged baked goods, snack foods, margarines and fried fast foods to add flavor and texture. Cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are considered desirable for adults. LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL.

Reduce Blood Sugar

65% of people with diabetes will die from some sort of heart disease or stroke. Over the time, high levels of blood sugar can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves. Enjoy the benefits of better heart health by following the above goals. If 45 years or older, you should see your doctor for a 'Heart Health Check' and if any issues are diagnosed in the check-up, follow the advice of your doctor stringently.