29th of September is celebrated as World Heart Day every year. The World Heart Federation pays special attention to the power of digital technology to improve awareness and prevention of heart disorders. This article focuses on the prevention aspect and shares some widely used tips that can improve heart health.
Let’s get started.
Diet makes a lot of difference when it comes to heart health. Certain types of food can increase the risk of heart disorders, cholesterol levels, and influence blood pressure. While some food items can help reduce or manage heart conditions. Diet for heart health one can follow includes -
Controlling the portion sizes can help eat in an efficient and balanced way. One can use smaller plates or bowls, eat smaller amounts of high-sodium food with more nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. One can also take help from a dietician to help decide the right portions.
Unhealthy trans fats and saturated fats can increase blood cholesterol levels and the risk of artery disease. High cholesterol deposits lead to an increase in the risk of heart blockages and stroke. The American heart association advises that saturated fats should be less than 6% of the daily calorie intake.
One can opt to choose lean meat or meat with less than 10% fat. Choosing healthy fats like olive oil, canola oil, nuts, flax seeds, and avocados over butter, bacon fat, non-dairy creamers, coconut oil is a much better option.
Whole grain food contains roughage, fibers, and other nutrients that help regulate blood pressure. Whole grain items can easily be a substitute for refined food. One can choose whole-grain wheat, high-fiber cereal, oatmeal, brown rice over frozen meals, white bread, muffins, cakes, and high-fat snacks.
Low-fat dairy products, lean meat, fish, and eggs are some sources of low-fat proteins. Bean, lentils, peas are good sources of healthy proteins. Any cardiac patient diet pushes for avoiding organ fats, hot dogs, bacon, fried meat, and full-fat dairy products in meals. Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help lower triglycerides or blood fat.
Everyone knows that taking high quantities of salt increases blood pressure. The American Heart Association advises that an adult should not take over a teaspoon or 2300 mg of salt daily. Canned and processed meals have high quantities of sodium. Food from restaurants also has high salt to enhance the taste.
One can opt to make soups and food with controlled salt intake. One can also choose pink salt, salt-free seasoning, over iodized salt.
Exercise and heart health go hand-in-hand. The heart is the most important muscle in the body. Caring for it has to be a priority for every individual. Conditioning the heart by exercising efficiently and regularly is a great way to ensure good health. Some heart health exercises that one can do include -
Simple yet effective, walking is an effective way to improve heart health. Brisk walking for thirty minutes every day can help condition the heart. One can opt to go for a walk in the morning or during lunch breaks in case of busy schedules.
Make sure to wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Adding a step counter can help keep one motivated to walk more. Listening to a podcast or music or simply walking with a friend can turn exercising into an efficient leisure activity.
If one is into more strenuous activities, they can pick up aerobic exercises. Running, jogging, dancing, and biking are some aerobatic exercises. It is better to ease into these exercises and increase the difficulty steadily.
The CDC recommends at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity exercise for adults weekly. In case one has joint problems, they can opt for low-intensity aerobics like swimming or cycling.
Building muscle mass by weight training is an effective way to improve heart health. Strength training also aids in burning fat and toning the body. One can exercise for heart health using their body weight.
Push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and sit-ups are some exercises that do not need any mechanical apparatus. Weights and resistance bands, along with some yoga, can be done twice a week, with appropriate rest.
A heart patient can easily take up exercising once their doctor approves of it. Even when one doesn't suffer from heart ailments, exercising can help keep those diseases at bay.
One must take note of their breathing while exercising. The body reacts to exercising almost immediately. Some fatigue for two to three days is normal after exercising. But anything beyond that demands attention.
If one feels pain or pressure on the chest during or after working out, they must consult with a doctor. Symptoms like breathlessness, uncontrollable sweating, increase in heart rate, and dizziness should not be ignored.
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