Did you know cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world’s leading cause of death? According to the World Heart Federation, it claims over 18 million lives each year, globally. But the good news is that it can be prevented. All you need to do is remain conscious of these five practices compiled by Vogue.
1. Pay attention to what you eat
You are what you eat. So, the next time you’re about to devour a plate of fried goodies; think about its impact on your heart. According to nutritionist and co-founder of Fitza, Shweta Shah, omega-3 fatty acids are great for improving heart health, so include pumpkin, sesame seeds, and walnuts in your diet.
“Broccoli is an excellent heart-healthy food so add it to your salads or stir-fry,” she advices. Shweta also recommends having ash gourd juice, pomegranate, herbs and spices like cinnamon, holy basil, turmeric, ginger and garlic.
2. Get moving
Laziness doubles your risk of and prompts an early onset of heart disease. So to keep your heart healthy, exercise daily any way you like. Namrata Purohit, entrepreneur, fitness expert and partner at The Pilates Studio, says, “Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is a great way to maintain or improve heart health. Another important form of exercise is resistance training like pilates. While aerobic activity improves blood circulation, lower blood pressure and the resting heart rate, resistance training can lower fat and improve lean body mass, which increase the good HDL cholesterol and reduce the bad LDL cholesterol.”
3. Get annual check-ups
For women who’ve hit 30, an annual health checkup is a must. Dr Brajesh Kunwar, director-interventional cardiology, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital Vashi, has listed a few ways we can learn about our heart’s health. These include an electrocardiogram (ECG), an echocardiogram which is essentially a scan of the heart, and the treadmill test, also known as the ‘stress test’.
4. Avoid caffeine, sugar and fats
According to Shah, having a cup of tea or coffee on an empty stomach is a strict no for your heart’s health. The same goes for processed foods laden with excess sugar, sodium and empty calories. “Regular consumption of junk food rich in sugar and saturated fats adversely impacts one’s heart and overall health. Added to this, leading a life with little to no movement, smoking and indulging in substance or alcohol abuse, cause further damage,” says Dr Kunwar.
5. Getting a goodnight’s sleep
Having your dinner around sunset is healthy, since that also aids in developing an early bed-time routine. Lack of sleep can also lead to a poor heart. “The heart is a muscle and just like all other muscles, it gets stronger and healthier with effort. Set realistic exercise goals and work your way up. There are no shortcuts,” concludes Purohit.
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