Keep your heart healthy

Kashmir Magazine

KM Desk

Heart diseases cause the highest number of deaths all over the world and occur due to several reasons. You might not give it much of thought throughout the day, but your heart is working around the clock for you. Your heart is the most important muscle in your body because it pumps blood and oxygen to all of your organs.


When your heart does not get the care it needs, serious problems develop in the lining of arteries and lead to serious life-threatening health complications. But it does not have to be that way – heart disease is largely preventable through healthy lifestyle choices. It is important to remember that the choices you make in your everyday life have direct ramifications on your health, especially on your heart. Because your heart serves such a critical function, taking care of it becomes all the more important to your overall heath.


Certain foods can increase your heart disease risk, changing your eating habits is often tough. Once you know which foods to eat more of and which foods to limit, you’ll be on your way towards a heart healthy diet. Here are tips how to make your heart healthy.


Keep your blood pressure in check:

High Blood Pressure, also known as hypertension is a major risk factor when it comes to heart disease. If you can keep your blood pressure within a healthy range it will reduce strain on your heart and arteries.


Cut down on salt:

If you have a diet high in salt, it’s likely that your blood pressure could be high too – which means you have an increased risk of suffering from heart disease or stroke. Cut down by trying to not use any salt at table (which means by adding it extra on top of meals), and reducing on how much you use in cooking. Also, keep an eye on food labels to check how much salt you are eating in processed foods.


Enjoy healthy fats & avoid unhealthy fats:

Fat is Fat, right? Foods actually contain healthy fats and unhealthy ones. Good fats from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish can reduce the risk of heart disease, lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. Some fats such as omega-3 fatty acids can even help heart muscles beat in a steady rhythm. Good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids are fish and other seafood like (cold water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines). Nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts) and plant oils like (flaxseed oil, soyabean oil and canola oil).


Eat more vegetables and fruits:

Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables and fruits are also low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. Vegetables and fruits, like other plants or plant-based foods contain substances that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables may help you cut back on higher calorie foods such as meat, cheese and snack foods.


Snap out of sedentary lifestyle:

Even if you exercise, the long bouts of sedentary time can hurt your heart health. Sedentary activities can include things such as working on computer, watching television or reading. Studies suggest that sedentary behaviors may be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and an overall higher risk of death from any cause.

To avoid sedentary periods, get active in your free time. Build movement in your everyday activity and take frequent breaks to stretch your legs if you work at desk.

Heart healthy recommendation for desk-based workers, is to stand up for at least one minute every half hour and to take a five minute physically active break hour. Studies show this will greatly reduce the risk of heart disease.


Don’t smoke, avoid second hand smoke:

Smoking is known to be detrimental to your health, but did you know it is also bad for your heart. Studies suggest that smoking is a major cause of coronary heart disease which can lead to heart attacks.

Smoking leads to a buildup of fatty substances in the arteries, which is a chief contributor to deaths from smoking. Secondhand smoke is also linked to cardiovascular disease.


Shed excess weight:

Excess weight is an enemy to your heart health, bringing it with a slew of health risks. Being overweight puts extra pressure on your arterial walls and forces your heart to work harder. It also puts you at risk of developing other diseases, such as atherosclerosis which can lead to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and stroke.


Eat Cholesterol Friendly Foods:

High levels of bad cholesterol threaten the health of your heart. Limit the number of foods that contain saturated fats, which can increase your cholesterol. These include butter, lard, fatty meats and full-fat dairy products. Instead, support your diet with foods that can naturally lower your cholesterol.

Fill your plates with foods rich in soluble fiber, such as beans, sweet potatoes, berries, plums, broccoli and carrots, which will help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.


Catch your Zs:

You may be surprised to learn that sleep is essential to your health. That’s because deep sleep allows the body to go into periods of lowered blood pressure and heart rate.

Sleep is an often-overlooked key to a healthy heart. Regardless of age, weight or smoking habits, people who are sleep deprived are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

Sleep is a necessity to your overall health, and not getting enough can hurt you in more ways than you may realize, especially for your heart.

Embracing heart healthy habits can make a huge difference.

Prevention is the key to keeping your heart in top shape and pumping the way it should.