Diet for Healthy Heart – Healthy You
Diet plays a key role in maintaining your overall health. A healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber, and fats can help you keep your heart healthy. If you have already suffered a heart attack or have undergone heart surgery, it goes without saying that strict diet control is needed.
Diet plays a huge role in keeping your heart healthy. It is also considered to be an important risk factor in all kinds of heart diseases, especially coronary heart disease. There are certain foods that influence cholesterol levels, blood pressure, inflammation, and triglycerides. You must avoid such foods to keep your heart healthy and stay away from heart diseases.
Heart disease can get worse if not maintained. Hence, it is very important for every patient suffering from heart disease to maintain a healthy diet. A plaque build-up in your arteries can block the blood flow to your heart. If you leave your heart disease untreated, it may lead to sudden cardiac arrest, stroke, or heart attack. All these conditions are considered to be life-threatening.
So to help you keep your heart healthy this World Heart day, Chief Dietician Swati Awasthi will tell us some heart-healthy diet tips to follow.
- Incorporate more fiber into your diet. Include foods such as whole wheat grains or cereals, peas, pulses, fruits such as oranges, pears, melons, and vegetables such as carrots and broccoli. There is more fiber in a single fruit than a glass of fruit juice which is made using 3 – 4 whole fruits.
- Include fruits & salads in your diet. Choose whole fruits and vegetables to up your intake of fiber and other nutrients. But, fruit should be limited, especially for people who are diabetic. Incorporate berries, oranges, sweet limes, apples, and pears which contain less sugar and more fiber. Vegetables are a great source of nutrients and including raw vegetables in the form of salad is a healthy idea. One big bowl of salad that contains vegetables and sprouts is mandatory for a complete meal. Sprouts are rich in proteins and fiber so two servings per day is a must.
- Restrict the intake of salt. For healthy individuals, the daily recommended dose of salt is 5-6 g per day. But if you have a history of heart disease or have undergone heart surgery, then the daily intake of salt should not exceed 5 g, which is about a teaspoon.
- Choose cooking oils wisely. Opt for the ones that contain high amounts of essential fatty acids such as monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Most of the oils available in the market such as groundnut oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, mustard oil, sesame oil, rice bran oil, etc. are good for the heart. However, instead of using one type of cooking oil, use different oils every month for added benefits. Whichever cooking oil you are using, it is important to keep a tab on the amount. Ensure that it should not be more than 15-20 ml per day, which is about three to four teaspoons of oil.
- Consume these secret superfoods: Foods that have antioxidant properties reduce inflammation, and “bad” cholesterol and increase the “good” cholesterol, keep your blood pressure in the desirable range and boost your immunity. Foods like garlic, onions, fenugreek seeds, berries, oranges, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and nuts are vital for a healthy heart.
- Follow portion control; whatever you eat spread it across the entire day and eat in limited amounts. Eating three full-course meals can add pressure on the stomach and other organs of the body including the heart. It is wise to have six small meals per day or two meals with breaks such as breakfast, mid-morning snacks, mid-afternoon snacks, and evening snacks. Moreover, dinner should be light and easy-to-digest food.
- Nuts are good for the heart; they are the best and most rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is an essential fatty acid that plays a key role in maintaining your heart health. It helps to maintain blood pressure, lower triglyceride levels, reduce cholesterol, lower the risk of inflammation and prevent heart disease. Almonds are rich in MUFA and walnuts in PUFA, both of which are good for the heart.
- Snack wisely. Include light foods such as boiled corn, puffed rice (murmura) or bhel, sprouts chaat, vegetable chaat, or boiled corn chaat. Packaged foods should be a strict no. Freshly cooked homemade food is your best bet. Fruits should be eaten as a mid-morning snack.
- Do regular exercise: Sedentary lifestyle is a major cause of developing heart diseases. Physical activity must be maintained regularly along with diet, that is, at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. It will keep your weight in check, improve your heart rate, and keeps your heart healthy
- Avoid stress: Stress and an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to a number of health issues. Try to get rid of tension and aim for a healthier and happier life. Indulge in a new activity, listen to music to calm yourself, or go for a walk when under immense pressure.
- Avoid smoking & use alcohol: Smoking consistently is known to be a major cause of heart disease. Smoking increases your heart rate and disrupts your blood pressure and also causes oxidative damage to your body. Try to kick the habit if you want a healthy heart. Alcohol also affects your heart rate and causes weight gain. Excess drinking for a consistent period can elevate your blood pressure and affect your good cholesterol
Heart diseases are preventable: certain lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the progression of a pre-existing condition or prevent future complications. Managing heart diseases through diet has a high success rate, not only does a healthy diet confer protection from heart disease but also helps maintain an overall well-being
HEALTHY HEART HEALTHY YOU
Mrs. Swati Awasthi
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