As we celebrate World Heart Day, there is an onslaught of pragmatic literature, addressing the various aspects of why the Heart is a veritable game-changer in the wellbeing and health profile of a subject and what are the various things that can go wrong with, arguably the most important organ of the body (many would say actually this is the rightful place of the Brain Not Heart !!). This is a debatable perspective, however, every opinion is unanimous in realizing that the Heart is precious and optimized cardiac function is the fulcrum of ideal holistic functioning of the body.
Hence, this treatise addresses the ethos in hand in a more optimistic way and specifies that there are more chances of a healthy, happily functioning Heart if one looks at this aspect intrinsically. All one has to do is to make small, pivotal alterations in day to day living and attitude oriented changes. Contrary to popular belief, these would result in sustainable improvements in one’s holistic wellness profile and a ticker that beats in rhythm.
The most important aspect to consider is that the health and biochemical functioning of the heart is not a stand-alone event and it has a cascading effect on other nodal physiological events in the body. It is also a significant facet of the orchestrated effect of body mechanics and is governed by factors like body weight, hereditary factors, diabetes, dietary regimen, neurological functioning, immunological profile, and many other parameters. Hence, the concept has to be addressed with a “larger picture perspective” rather than a myopic one.
Some lifestyle changes are extremely effective and beneficial:
- The smoking habit is a catalyst to Hell, hence must be addressed immediately. Quitting is the only option.
- The cliché, “You are what you eat”, holds good hence, A healthy diet is one of the best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease (CVD), and aims at the management of high blood cholesterol, and serves to lower high blood pressure. Ironically, “Choose good nutrition”, is really by default and not by choice!
- It pays to be agile and physically active every day. The regimen should be signature to the anthropometric parameters of the individual so that chances of cheating on the program and “giving up” is minimalistic. Walking is universally ideal and can be followed at a personal pace…as it is said “Walk so you can talk” is the methodology which yields the best and most effective results. No panting, no fatigue, no negativism, rather a flood of endorphins in the body and a feel-good mental aura.
- A constant and healthy weight has to be aimed at and any loss in weight has to be steady and gradual.
- Chronic conditions like diabetes and even asthma have to be managed. It is important to periodically take the advice and counsel of the medical expert.
- The reduction of mental stress is both pertinent and mandatory. Practicing Yoga is highly recommended and interestingly, it is now a global realization.
How to lower your Blood Pressure?
To aim at lowering the Resting Blood Pressure To Below 120/80, there are some simple ground realities to be considered.
- Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables and 4 servings of fruits daily. These can be seasonal and locally available varieties.
- Cut back on calorie-dense foods loaded with fat, sugar, and/or refined grains. High nutrient density foods like red meats, high-fat cheeses, and saturated fats are a big No-No. Choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium. As part of a healthy diet, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, fish (preferably oily fish-at least twice per week), nuts, legumes, and seeds and try eating some meals without meat. Select lower fat dairy products and poultry (skinless).
- Limiting consumption of sodium to a healthy level is really a worthwhile proposition. Self -restriction of salt consumption is a very positive step towards desirable heart function.
- Limit alcohol drinking and recognizing the advantages of it is also a very emphatic step to a Healthy Heart.
- Exercising every day and achieving a lifestyle integration of the same is truly an achievement.
What is the best diet for a Healthy Heart?
THE HEARTY DOZEN (NOT THE THE “DIRTY DOZEN”)…..Twelve food categories which put a smile on your heart’s face:
- Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and trout.
- A handful of healthy nuts such as almonds or walnuts will satisfy your hunger and help your heart. These are excellent midday, between the meals snacking options.
- Berries are chock full of heart-healthy phytonutrients( plant origin foods) and soluble fiber. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries or raspberries in cereal or yogurt are the makings of a wonderfully satisfying composite meal.
- Seeds. Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestrogens to substantially enhance heart health. Take them in ground or milled form to reap the greatest benefit. This milled powder can be used to fortify flour and can be consumed easily. Chia seeds also provide omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein and can be eaten whole, a teaspoon at a time.
- Oats are a comfort-food nutrient powerhouse. Try toasting oats to top yogurt, salads or to add into a trail mix if you are not happy with the sight of cooked oats!
- Legumes. Dried beans and lentils ― such as garbanzo, pinto, kidney or black beans and more native ones like Moong, Horsegram or Chana, are high in fiber, B-vitamins, minerals and a large spectrum of micronutrients.
- A 4-ounce glass of red wine (up to two for men and one for women per day) can help improve good cholesterol levels(HDL Levels).
- Add these magical beans or marinated tofu in a stir-fry with fresh vegetables for a heart-healthy lunch or dinner. The result is definitely a smiling stomach, a calm mind and above all a beatific heart!
- Red, yellow and orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, tomatoes, and beet are packed with carotenoids, fiber and vitamins to help your heart.
- Greens galore. Popeye was right ― spinach packs a punch! So does kale, Swiss chard, collard/mustard greens, and Bok choy. Use these sandwiches and salads instead of lettuce. Native Indian preparations like parathas or composite preparations like PalakPaneer, add an extra dimension to the rainbow of good health. Broccoli and asparagus are filled with mighty nutrients such as vitamins C and E, potassium, folate, calcium and fiber.
- Fruits such as oranges, tangerines, cantaloupes, and papaya are rich in beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium and fiber.
- Dark chocolate is good for your heart health. The higher the percentage of cocoa the better! (The fiber and protein increase with higher cocoa and the sugar decreases). If you are a fan of milk chocolate, make your choice begin with at least 70% cocoa.
A healthy and balanced diet can be astoundingly wonderful for your heart as well as your body shape. This naturally adds to a sense of self-worth and happiness.
Signing off rather poetically, your heart is full of feelings….benevolent feelings for you. It is vocal and has a very protracted and eloquent conversation with you at all times. All one has to do is listen to it! Engaging in a hobby of your choice, keeping a pet, dancing, listening to music, empathizing with the world at large, making a conscious effort towards being happy and spreading happiness and above all Laughing with Life…..these are going to make your heart….Hearty and healthy.
The author acknowledges the use of authentic medical literature to structure this article.
No content/material in this site, products or services is intended as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always talk to health care providers/ professionals for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment
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