How to make Healthy Heart?
The heart is a vital organ of the human body. It is a muscular organ about the size of a fist. It is like a pump that supplies the blood with oxygen and nutrients to all the parts of the body. Blood vessels are the body’s highways that allow blood to flow quickly and efficiently from the heart to every organ of the body and back again. There are three major types of blood vessels: arteries, capillaries, and veins.
When plaque (fatty material, calcium or scar tissue) builds up in the arteries, the walls become narrow which restricts adequate blood from reaching the heart. The process of building up of plaque on the walls of the arteries is known as atherosclerosis. If a blood clot forms the plaque, it can completely restrict the blood flow which can result in serious conditions like a heart attack or stroke.
A pressing or squeezing pain, usually in the chest under the breast bone but sometimes in the shoulders, arm, neck, jaws, back or upper abdomen can be confused with indigestion or heartburn. Stress, age, gender, hypertension, or high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, family history, obesity, diabetes, and air pollution are some of the major contributing risk factors of heart disease.
7 Tips to lower the risk of heart disease
- Live smoke-free: If you smoke, quit.
- Monitor your blood pressure: Keep your numbers around 120/80 mm Hg.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Target a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25.
- Control your blood sugar: Aim for a fasting blood glucose less than 100 mg/dl.
- Watch your cholesterol: Strive for total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dl.
- Get moving: Log 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity – like brisk walking – per week (or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity)
- Eat a Heart-healthy diet: Make vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fish staple. Limit sodium, saturated fat and added sugar.
Some of the most common symptoms of heart disease are –
- Shortness of breath
- Palpitations (Irregular heartbeats or a flip flop feeling in the chest)
- Rapid heartbeat
- Weakness or dizziness
- Nausea and sweating
- Extreme weakness and anxiety
According to WHO (World Health Organization) reports, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the most common cause of death in the world. In 2008, almost 30% of all global deaths were caused by CVDs. It is also estimated that by 2020, India will have more than 4.77 million deaths a year due to cardiovascular disease and 2.58 million deaths due to coronary heart diseases (CHD).
Healthy food for healthy Heart
Making healthy food choices doesn’t have to be overwhelming. These tips will get you on your way:
- Cook at home more often to avoid processed foods
- How you eat is as important as what you eat. Enjoy your meals without multitasking
- Listen to your body – eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied
- Eat at regular times
- Plan healthy snacks
- Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits at every meal
- Eat whole grain more often
- Eat fish at least twice a week
- Include legumes like beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, and seeds more often
- Don’t be afraid of fat. But use unsaturated fat