Food on your plate determines how your heart functions. According to the National Institute of Health, USA, heart diseases are responsible for almost 33.33 per cent deaths in the world. If you don’t want to die of a heart attack or heart failure, then now is the time of change. Wrong diet will increase your risk of a heart condition while correct diet can help reduce it. On this World Heart Day, know that the food you eat influences blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol levels and inflammation, all of which are responsible for various heart conditions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eating food rich in fat, sodium and cholesterol is bad for the heart. If you are trying to reduce your risk of heart disease, then avoiding the consumption of fatty and rich foods would be a good start. While you are working on improving the food quality, simultaneously it is important to note other things that you should do to improve your heart health.
Food alone would not be able to help. You will have quit drinking, quit smoking, reduce stress, exercise and go for annual checkups. Making lifestyle changes along with diet changes will be more affective then changing just the diet. Here are some foods that you must include in your diet as soon as possible.
DIETARY MODIFICATIONS FOR A HEALTHY HEART
Diet is very important for heart health. The right food will make all the difference. Let us take a look at some foods that you can include in your diet for a healthy heart on this World Heart Day.
Asparagus is rich in folate, which stops the formation of homocysteine (a type of amino acid) in the body. According to the National Institute of Health, USA, increased level of homocysteine can increase the risk of heart-related conditions like heart attack, stroke and coronary artery disease.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Spinach, kale and collard greens are some examples of leafy green vegetables. They contain vitamin K, which helps them protect arteries and improve blood clotting. Dietary nitrate in these vegetables helps reduce blood pressure and improve the functioning of cells lining the blood vessels. According to the National Institute of Health, USA, consuming leafy green vegetables can reduce your chances of developing a heart disease by 16 per cent.
Brown rice, whole wheat, oats, rye, barley and quinoa are all different types of whole grain. Whole grain contains the germ, endosperm and bran, three nutrients that can help reduce the ‘bad’ cholesterol from the body. According to the National Institute of Health, regular consumption of whole grains can decrease the risk of heart disease by 22 per cent. Another study done by National Institute of Health proves that daily consumption of at least three servings of whole grain can reduce the risk of stroke by 25 per cent.
Berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are filled with antioxidants like anthocyanins. This help in reducing the oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, which can lead to the development of heart disease. According to a study by The National Institute of Health, USA, consuming berries on a daily basis can reduce the bad cholesterol level in the body by 11 per cent.
LIFESTYLE MODIFICATION FOR A HEALTHY HEART
Making dietary modifications is necessary for a healthy heart. But you also need to inculcate some healthy lifestyle habits if you want to live a heart healthy life. Start now on this World Heart Day.
Chemicals in tobacco harms the blood cells, which in turn affects the heart’s condition. Weak blood cells affect the functioning of blood vessels. This increases the risk of atherosclerosis. Smoking leads to the build-up of plaque in the arteries. This plaque hardens and narrows the arteries. Narrow arteries limit the flow of oxygen to other organs of the body. This puts pressure on the heart and increases the risk of a heart disease.
Be physically active
According to the National Institute of Health, USA, 150 minutes of exercise per week can help lower the risk of blood pressure conditions, bring down cholesterol and keep obesity at bay. Start slow but a start is important. This will increase your life length and quality.
Limit alcohol intake
Consumption of excess alcoholic content increases the risk of spiking blood pressure, stroke, cancer and cardiomyopathy. Alcohol increases the level the triglycerides in the body. This increases the risk of irregular heartbeat. It also leads to obesity, suicide and accidents. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, USA, a person should not have more than 354.882 ml of regular spirits like beer and wine in one day. More than this will increase the risk of a heart condition.