• Virendra Singh

Amazing tips: How to keep your heart healthy?

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

The heart is an organ that is muscular and it’s about the size of a human fist. It pumps blood to the body. A healthy heart performs many functions that bring life to your body. So maintaining a healthy heart is important for your entire health. Here we have mentioned few useful tips on how to keep your heart healthy.

How to keep your heart healthy

The heart is an organ that is muscular and it’s about the size of a human fist, it is located just behind and marginally left of the breastbone. The heart has a network of arteries and veins which is called the cardiovascular system and it pumps blood to the body through it. It performs many functions that bring life to your body. So maintaining a healthy heart is important for your entire health. You can ensure to make your heart healthy just by maintaining a good and healthy diet as well as exercise.

Maintaining a healthy heart:

Food is medicine

The food is an important element in maintaining your health. It helps keep all organs healthy, which depends upon its nutritional value. Risk of heart disease can be reduced by eating a healthy diet.

You can make healthier food choices to keep your heart healthy, which is not as hard as it sounds. You should follow these simple tips for a healthy heart diet.

Healthy dietary fats: Dietary fat plays an important role in your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a substance that your body needs to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest your food. Cholesterol isn’t bad as we have been taught since long. But when your diet is abundant in fats, it can be dangerous for your health.

There is good and bad cholesterol in your dietary fats.

  • HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol found in your blood.

  • LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol.

  • You should always keep LDL cholesterol low and maintain HDL cholesterol levels high to protect against heart diseases.

  • On the other hand, if the LDL levels are high and HDL levels are low, you may be at risk of increased heart disease.

It is most important to focus on eating the fats that are healthier rather than avoiding diet just because it is high in fats. Some fats are beneficial for you. Always choose monounsaturated fats, for eg. Peanut oil, safflower oil, olive oil, canola oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for heart health. Polyunsaturated fats are found in walnuts, Sunflower seeds, flax seeds, etc.

Foods that you should avoid: You should always try to avoid Trans-fat. It is generally found in packaged foods. You will find ingredients like “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient column, this is called Trans-fat.

  • Whole-grain. Whole-grain foods are high in fibers. It includes Oats, wheat, millet, barley, brown rice, etc.

  • Fresh fruits for a healthy heart. Fruits contain vitamins, fiber, and minerals that are essential for your healthy heart. Fresh fruits add variety in your diet and they are healthy.

  • Meat v/s Fish. In general, red meats are loaded with saturated fats, which is bad for heart-health. But, unsaturated fats that are good in fish, such as salmon, have good health benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish can help minimize the risk of heart failure, coronary artery disease, and the most common type of ischemic stroke.

  • Don’t forget beans. The beans are high in minerals and fiber without the saturated fat found in some animal proteins. Eating beans can help you improve your cholesterol levels, which is one of the leading causes of cardiac disease. Chickpeas, Lentils, Peas, Kidney beans are some which will help improve your cholesterol levels.

  • Low-fat dairy. Low-fat versions of milk or skimmed milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese help maintain a healthy heart.

  • Protein-rich diet. Consume foods that are rich in proteins, for eg eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, and beans.

Foods that you should avoid in your diet:

For a healthy heart limit some nutrients from your diet. The list is shown below:

  • Sodium: Avoid foods that are either packaged or canned as they are high in sodium. High sodium diet can enhance the risk for high BP, ischemic stroke, and heart failure

  • Unhealthy fats: Trans-fat and saturated fats are dietary fats that are unhealthy for your heart. They are found in red meat, chicken fat, hydrogenated oils, milk fat, palm and palm kernel oils, partially hydrogenated oil. Trans fats are also found in ice cream, French fries (if fried in hydrogenated oil), skinned chicken dishes, whole milk and full-fat dairy foods.

  • Sugary drinks: Sweetened drinks are beverages that have added sugars. These include sodas, carbonated drinks, energy drinks, sweetened coffee and tea, ice cream, candy, syrups, and jellies. Avoid such kinds of drinks as much as possible.

  • Alcohol: Excess intake of alcohol might increase your blood pressure and might cause increase your weight gain. Reduce the intake of alcohol. Average men should not take more than 2 pegs a day. Women should limit their intake of up to one drink per day. Increased intake of alcohol might raise the possibility of a heart failure in most cases.

Benefits of exercise

Your heart is a muscle, and with exercise, you help yourself live a healthy life. Even if you haven’t done exercise in the past, but you can start now as it is never too late to start. You need not be an athlete for that. Just by taking a brisk walk for thirty minutes a day might make a huge difference.

Those people who do not perform physical activity are almost at a risk of getting heart disease in comparison to active people. As soon as you start performing the exercise, it will pay you back in the form of a healthy heart.

Routine physical activity can help you burn calories, reduce your BP, lower your LDL (bad cholesterol), increase your HDL (good cholesterol). Exercise can help weight loss when it is supported by a healthy diet. Routine exercise helps in building lean muscle, which helps burn more calories.

What kind of exercise is good for my heart?

You can perform a simple exercise like brisk walking, running, cycling, and yoga. Aerobic exercise helps your heart pump more blood into the body and it helps you breathe more deeply. It makes your heart pump more blood to your body. Aerobic exercise helps raise your heart rate, which helps burn calories.

How much exercise do I need?

Initially, you should start with not more than 30 minutes a day. Do it routinely for four to six days a week. Ask your doctor which exercise might be helpful to you according to your age and weight.

How can I fit exercise in my busy schedule?

You can find many ways to perform physical activity during your busy schedule. Few examples are as follows:

  • Try to use the stairs instead of an elevator.

  • Take a brisk walk while on a lunch break.

  • Always park your vehicle at the end of the parking lot so you have to travel more distance to reach your office.

  • Always try to walk briskly.

Things to consider

You should always consider doing exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet to keep your heart healthy. If you don’t do so, you will be at a risk of developing high BP, increased cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and other heart disease. This will further enhance the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What should be the perfect diet to keep my heart healthy?

  • Which fruits are good for heart health?

  • What exercise will help me keep my heart healthy?

  • How much can I exercise daily according to my age and weight?

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