Top 10 Tips For a Healthy Heart



A fit body is the biggest endorsement of your happy being. A healthy heart adds soul to that joy. Therefore, this vital organ earns its right of being taken care of through a medically compliant lifestyle. Dr. Rajneesh Jain, Senior Interventional Cardiologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, gives out 10 essentials to heart care. These guidelines serve as precautionary measures to both the patients and the non-patients. Here they go:

  • QUIT SMOKING: Smoking is one of the key causes of coronary heart disease. Within a year of giving up, your risk of a heart attack recedes to about half of that of a smoker. Ditch the cigarettes. And mind you, even passive smoking is adverse for your heart. Therefore, avoid the smoking zones as well as the smokers' company.
  • GET ACTIVE: An active lifestyle or a regular exercising reduces your risk of developing heart diseases. It is also a great stress buster and mood booster. Clinical researches prove that our body needs a minimum of around 150 minutes of activity every week. If we divide it evenly over 5 days, it comes out to be 30 continuous minutes of activity per day. You can start off with moderate levels graduating eventually to the more effective rigorous ones.
            Moderate Activities:
               - Brisk walk 
               - Riding a bike on level ground or with few hills 
               - Doubles tennis 
               - Pushing a lawn mower 
               - Volleyball 

            Vigorous Activities:
             - Jogging or running
             - Swimming fast
             - Riding a bike fast or on hills
             - Football 
             - Skipping rope 
             - Aerobics 
             - Gymnastics 

Bottom line, if you are doing nothing, do something, and if you are doing something, do more

  • MANAGE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE: High blood pressure exerts extra force on the artery walls, thereby damaging them and creating scar tissues. This makes it harder for blood and oxygen to get pumped to and from the heart. Consequently, the heart is strained and it wears out fast. If a body tissue, including that of heart, does not get enough oxygen, it starts dying. Multiple tissues in a zone may mean a part of the organ fizzling away. To keep a tab on the damage, get your blood pressure checked every 3-5 years if youre aged 18-39 years and annually, if youre 40 years or older.
  • CURTAIL SALT: For a healthy blood pressure, reduce the salt quantity in the food and avoid using the one at the table. Once you get used to the taste of food without added salt, you can cut it out completely. 
  • MANAGE YOUR WEIGHT: Being overweight can increase the risk of heart disease. Stick to a nutritionally balanced diet low in and sugar and fat with a plenty of fruits and vegetables. Combine it with regular physical activity. Find out your healthy weight with a BMI Calculator. If overweight, resort to a scientifically framed weight loss plan.
  • DIABETES CHECK: Majority people are unaware of their diabetes. This ignorance can prove expensive. Over time, high blood sugar damages arteries, enhancing the risk of heart disease, kidney failure, eye complications, and peripheral arterial disease. Get your blood sugar checked, if you are:
           - 45 years of age or older
           - pregnant
           - overweight
           - symptomatic of diabetes

If you are diagnosed for diabetes, work on your lifestyle (diet and exercise) with your doctor. 
  • CUT DOWN ON SATURATED FATS AND TRANS FATS: Too much fat in your diet, especially saturated fats, can raise your bad cholesterol levels (LDL & triglycerides), which increases the risk of heart disease. Choose lean cuts of meat and low-fat dairy products like 1% fat milk over full-fat or whole milk. Quit trans fats, which are particularly present in most processed foods. Check ingredient lists for anything that says hydrogenated” or partially hydrogenated.Those are trans fats. If you are an adult and its been 5 or more years since your last blood cholesterol test, youre due for one.
  • GET YOUR ‘5 A DAY:' Daily eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables. They're a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. There are lots of tasty ways to get your ‘5 A DAY,’ like adding chopped fruit to cereal, including vegetables in your pasta sauces and curries, eating more fibre to help lower your risk of heart disease. Aim for at least 30g a day. Some good fiber sources are whole meal bread, oats and wholegrain cereals, potatoes with their skins on, and plenty of fruit and vegetables 
  • CLEAN UP: Your heart works the best when it runs on clean fuel. Yes, its about detoxification. Eat lots of whole, plant-based foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Reduce refined or processed foods, such as white bread, pasta, crackers, and cookies. One of the fastest ways to clean up is to cut out sugary beverages like soda and fruit juice, which lacks the fiber present in actual fruit.
  • DO MORE OF WHAT YOU LOVE: Managing stress a healthy way is vital. Go for what you like - meditation, yoga, or exercise. Do spend time with the people you’re close to. Talk, laugh, confide, and enjoy each other’s company. Happiness catalyzes your emotional health and lifts your heart’s fitness level.
  • CELEBRATE EVERY STEP: The changes suggested above require lot of motivation, discipline, time, and effort. You will need to push yourself to pursue these and not quit. Focus on progress. Not perfection. Reward yourself for every positive step you take.   
                                                                       - Edited by Rakhi Sinha, Founder & CEO, TSS.
             
Dr. Rajneesh Jain
Insight by Dr. Rajneesh Jain, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. An experienced and renowned expert, Dr. Jain has been helping cardiac patients to maintain a healthy heart and live a healthy life for last 28 years. He has performed around 15,000 coronary angiographies and 3,000 angioplasties until date.
                   



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