Scientific evidence today supports the concept that heart diseases have their roots in our daily diets. Results of several large scale studies show that certain strategies based on dietary modification, if implemented can decrease the number of deaths associated with diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
- A good eating habit with a well balanced exercise program for the body cycle to function effectively is the first step to make your, “heartbeat” longer.
- Well balanced meal that includes all the basic food groups [group1-cereals and starchy foods like rice, wheat, potato; group2-pulses, meat; group3-milk and its products; group4- fats and oils; group5-fruits and vegetables], with reduction in total fats, that is visible fats [butter, ghee oil] and invisible fats [fats that is already present in foods like in flesh foods, milk products] has to be taken care while planning menu.
- Total fat in food should be reduced. Cutting down the use of cooking oil by using non stick pans is the solution to reduce the visible fats. Adopting the smarter substitutions to high calorie foods; that is: replacing one glass of milk with skimmed milk, one glass of orange juice with an orange, pasta with whole wheat flour pasta, mayonnaise with white sauce, chicken with fish, paneer with skimmed milk paneer, fried foods with steamed and grilled foods, removing fats from chicken and meat before cooking can help to reduce the consumption of invisible fats. It is also very important to avoid the repetitive heating of oils as there is a release of free radicals which have the negative effects on health.
- Consume natural foods as grown; like whole grain cereals, pulses vegetables, fruits as they have lot of fiber which fills you up calorie free.
- Enough vitamins and minerals in form of fruits and vegetables is must as they are antioxidants which keeps our system clean, makes skin glow and keeps you slimmer.
- All colors of vegetables and fruits that is; orange, green, yellow should be included in the diet.
- Salt intake has to be restricted. This can be done by avoiding table salt, high salty foods like papad, pickle, cheese, salted butter, sauces and canned foods.
- Processed foods are not only high in salt content but also there is loss of vitamins and minerals in these foods. So fast foods and processed foods are expensive both for pocket and heart.
- To make sure that heart beats in a normal pace it is important to keep you relaxed and do not unduly put yourself under stress. Stress causes the heart to beat faster, B.P to go up, muscle to become tense and arteries to go in spasm.
- One of the ways to relax is exercise. Exercise also helps to increase HDL [good CHL] and reduce the tendency of blood to form clots. It also helps to maintain the ideal weight. Exercise can be done by adopting regular walk, doing household chores by you, jogging during commercials while watching T.V, using stairs and reducing the tendency of helpers in office and home. These all activities keep your mind as well as body fit.
- Last but not the least smoking and alcohol consumption should be avoided. Alcohol increases B.P and heavy drinking weakens the heart muscles. Now a day’s people have the misconception that alcohol is good for heart and increases HDL [good CHL]. Small amounts of alcohol increases HDL but it does not increases the protective fraction [HDL-2].So it is better to avoid alcohol because of its other ill effects on blood muscle of heart. Smoking is also major risk factor leading to heart disease. Nicotine and carbon monoxide in the smoke damage the heart and blood vessels. Smoking also increases blood viscosity as well as clot formation.
It is advisable to adapt sensible and healthy food habits with a good lifestyle in order to make your ‘heart beat longer’ and have a quality life. We should work towards a goal with a clear idea of what one would like to achieve and at what cost.