Heart is one of the most vital organs of our body that helps in carrying pumped blood to ensure supply of oxygen and nutrients to the body while heart-healthy eating, along with regular exercise or physical activity, can significantly lower one’s risk of experiencing heart disease or stroke. According to health experts, following a heart-healthy diet on a regular basis can also help to reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease, as well as stop us from gaining extra weight, thereby reducing risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Varun Gupta, Medical Advisor at Nutrabooti, echoed, “Your heart is one of the most complex and arguably the most vital organ that works continuously to provide your body with a constant supply of oxygenated blood. If you want to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, there are many simple ways to protect your cardiovascular system through diet and lifestyle modifications.” He suggested:
1. Quit smoking – Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease and can worsen heart disease symptoms. If you currently smoke, consider quitting it.
2. Eat more fiber-rich plant foods – A diet high in fiber can lower “bad” cholesterol and provide nutrients that help to take care of your cardiovascular health. For a healthy heart, you can add high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains to your diet.
3. Sit less and move more – Sedentary behavior could increase your risk of developing heart diseases, as being inactive can sometimes lead to fatty material building up in your arteries. So, always try to make an effort to sit less and move more, if you can, by going for regular walks or engaging yourself in playing outdoor games of your interest.
4. Switch to healthier fats – Adding healthier fats to your diet can improve blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease. Try to include fatty fish such as salmon, trout, or herring, or flaxseed, kale, spinach, or walnuts in your meal.
5. Manage stress – Chronic stress or constant stress experienced over a prolonged period negatively affects the body in many ways and may contribute to long-term problems for the heart. Learning ways to manage or relieve stress whenever possible is a smart way to protect your cardiovascular system.
Dr Deeksha Katiyar, Consulting Physician at WeClinic™ Homeopathy, advised that to create your heart-healthy eating plan, you can include the following in your diet:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Whole Grains
- Fish oil
- Olive oil
- Green tea
She revealed a ‘heart-healthy’ diet plan which you can follow to enable your heart to reap maximum benefits:
- Early Morning (5 am to 6 am)
Take 5-6 almonds walnuts with a glass of warm water
Homemade breakfast such as poha, boiled moong, upma, dosa, dhokla, paratha, etc .Use minimum oil during cooking .Take a glass of milk or curd , or a protein rich food such as boiled egg .
Eat 2-3 chapatis without ghee, or a medium bowl of rice, a cup of vegetables curry, medium bowl of curd, along with a big serving of salad .Replace dal with a chicken or fish for non-vegetarians.
A bowl of soup or fruit. You can take also a cup of green tea or coffee with a small bowl of bhel /chaat /khakhra.
2 multigrain chapatis or 2 jowar/bajra, bhakris with a bowl of vegetable curry, a plate of salad, and a bowl of dal or curd. Alternatively, one can have a bowl of khichdi or kadhi rice too.
She recommended that adapting the following healthy lifestyle habits can help to maintain heart health –
- Active lifestyle with regular workout
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
- Manage your stress
- Get enough sleep every day
- Do regular check-up
- Manage Diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure
In addition to the tips listed above, there are many other ways to care for your heart, including getting enough sleep and limiting your alcohol intake.