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10 Steps to Heart Health

posted on 10/17/2016 Facebook Facebook

India will soon bear the largest burden of heart disease globally: In India, out of the estimated population of more than 1.27 billion dispersed across various geographical regions, about 45 million people suffer from coronary artery disease. ‘According to current estimates, India will soon have the highest number of cases of cardiovascular disease in the world.’ But the good news is that heart-disease is mostly preventable. Research shows that up to 90 percent of heart disease can be prevented by changing one’s diet, exercising more, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking. Reduce your risk by following these 10 simple steps.

1. Get active
Getting – and staying – active can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It can also be a great mood booster and stress buster.Do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. One way to achieve this target is by doing 30 minutes of activity on five days a week. Fit it in where you can, such as by cycling to work.

2. Give up smoking
If you''''re a smoker, quit. It''''s the single best thing you can do for your heart health.Smoking is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease. A year after giving up, your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.

3. Sleep Well
Sleep is essential for a healthy heart. People who don''''t sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease. One study that examined data from 3,000 adults over the age of 45 found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept six to eight hours per night. So get your dose of sleep which can be vary between 6-8 hours from today.4. Manage your weightBeing overweight can increase your risk of heart disease. Losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight—about 8 to 15 pounds if you start at 150—will result in better blood pressure, lower risk for diabetes and improved cholesterol levels. Stick to a healthy, balanced diet low in fat and sugar, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, combined with regular physical activity. Find out if you are a healthy weight with the online BMI calculators.

5. Laugh Out Loud (LOL)
So, how many times you laugh in a day? Less. That could be a reason why your cholesterol levels are going for a toss. Laughter boosts your immune system and releases certain compounds called endorphins or ‘the feel good happy hormones.’ It improves oxygen supply to the brain by improving blood flow. It also helps reduce blood pressure, thereby improving your heart health. So laugh out loud for 15 minutes a day to keep heart disease at bay.

6. Drink less alcohol
Don''''t forget alcohol contains calories. Regularly drinking can have a noticeable impact on your waistline. Try to keep to the recommended daily alcohol limits to reduce the risk of serious problems with your health, including risks to your heart health.

7. Cut down on salt
To maintain healthy blood pressure, avoid using salt at the table and try adding less to your cooking. Once you get used to the taste of food without added salt, you can cut it out completely. Watch out for high salt levels in ready-made foods. Most of the salt we eat is already in the foods we buy. Check the food labels – a food is high in salt if it has more than 1.5g salt (or 0.6g sodium) per 100g. Adults should eat less than 6g of salt a day in total – that''''s about one teaspoon.

8. Improve your diet

  •         Junk the junk foodMany packaged snacks, crackers, bakery goods and some margarines contain artificial trans fats (a.k.a. hydrogenated oils), which increase “bad” LDL even more than saturated fats.
  •         Fill up on fiberVarious studies link a high-fiber diet with a lower risk of heart disease. Eat plenty of fibre to help lower your risk of heart disease – aim for at least 30g a day. Eat fibre from a variety of sources, such as wholemeal bread, bran, oats and wholegrain cereals, potatoes with their skins on, and plenty of fruit and veg.
  •         Have a handful of nutsWalnuts, almonds, peanuts, and other nuts are good for your heart. Try grabbing some instead of chips or cookies when you need a snack, adding them to salads for a healthful and tasty crunch, or using them in place of meat in pasta and other dishes.
  •         Go fishConsuming two or more servings of fish per week is associated with a 30 percent lower risk of developing coronary heart disease over the long term, studies show. Fish such as mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna and salmon contain omega-3 fats, which lower levels of triglycerides in the blood that may contribute to blood clotting. Omega-3s also lower blood pressure slightly and can help prevent irregular heart rhythms. (Flaxseed oil, canola oil and walnuts also contain omega-3 fats.)
  •         Read the food labelWhen shopping, it''''s a good idea to look at the label on food and drink packaging to see how many calories and how much fat, salt and sugar the product contains. Understanding what is in food and how it fits in with the rest of your diet will help you make healthier choices.

9. Cut down on saturated fat
Eating too many foods that are high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. This increases your risk of heart disease. Choose leaner cuts of meat and lower-fat dairy products like 1% fat milk over full-fat (or whole) milk.

10. Drink Water
‘If you’re well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard’. Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently.

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