Right from childhood, when we start learning about the human body, we are told that the heart is the most important organ of our body. And for good reason, because it works endlessly throughout our life, without a single second’s pause! We often tend to neglect this tireless worker till a problem arises. Often it is a sudden pain in the chest, or sharp shortness of breath that draws attention to this quietly labouring king of organs. If there has been a history of heart disease in the family, then there are higher chances of the future generations having heart disease as well, for genes play a strong role. Increasing age and genes can’t be changed, but there are numerous factors that can be changed to avert a cardiac disaster. Similarly, stress is another major factor that plays a strongly influential role in the development of heart disease and is unlikely to ever completely disappear! The best way is to prevent heart disease from occurring, is nipping it right in the bud!
Here are the 5 most important ways by which you can avoid becoming a victim of heart diseases in your life:
- Regular exercise: Regular physical activity plays an important role in keeping heart diseases at bay. Just 30minutes per day are needed from your daily schedule to maintain optimum heart health. This helps in maintaining healthy weight and also reduces the chances of developing increased blood pressure, dyslipidemia or diabetes. 20-30 minutes of brisk walking, jogging or cycling along with 15 minutes daily of muscle strengthening exercises for all the major muscles groups like legs, hips, chest, arms etc. is the wisest thing you will ever do for keeping your heart healthy.
- Kick the butt: Tobacco in any form is injurious to health and is responsible for development of heart diseases. Various chemicals in tobacco, directly affect the arteries leading to atherosclerosis which can ultimately lead to heart attack. Smoking is a slow poison, the more you smoke, the greater is the risk of developing the heart disease. Even the Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine version cigarettes have been found to be risky for heart health. Every cigarette you smoke increases the risk of heart disease. The wise have said “It’s never too late”, and the same holds true for smoking. Once you quit smoking, the risk of developing heart disease is same as that of a non-smoker in around 5 years.
- Eat healthy: Eating healthy, nutritious food, regularly helps in keeping the heart healthy. A diet rich in fresh, raw
fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and plenty of water helps to protect the heart. Reduce intake of saturated and trans fat in your diet and if possible totally avoid taking trans fat in your diet. Eating heart healthy foods like avocados, nuts, olives, olive oil, flaxseeds help in lowering your cholesterol levels and indirectly helps in keeping your heart healthy. Cutting down on canned and processed foods also helps the heart as these foodstuffs contain a high amount of sodium which tends to produce high blood pressure in the long run. A common myth is that alcohol is healthy for the heart. It is found that one drink per day for women of all ages and men older than 65 years and up to 2 drinks daily for those under 65 is safe. However, despite the anti-oxidants in alcohol that bestow benefits, it is essential to understand that is a potent stimulant and nervous system depressant and best avoided.
- Stress: Learn to tame your stresses early in life as long term stress can cause an increase in your blood pressure as well as increased heart rate which can in turn affect the walls of your arteries. Learning stress management techniques like meditation, yoga, breathing exercises will help you to relax and improve the quality of life. Indulging in hobbies like reading, painting, gardening, cooking etc keeps you elated, engaged and helps bust stress, paving way for a happy hearts.
- Regular health check-ups: This is a must as it helps in keeping an eye on your health. Getting your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels checked regularly go a long way in keeping you healthy. These 3 things, when they start affecting your health you won’t come to know unless you keep tab on them on regular basis. These are like silent killers who keep on affecting your heart, without producing much of symptoms for you to worry about. And sometimes when you come to know about them, the damage may have been done already. So always make it a point to visit your family doctor regularly for a routine check up.
Do you follow or know more such simple steps, write about it in the comments box below.