Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, one of the leading cardiologists of India, once quoted, “The incidence of heart disease is rising, and in India, it is in an epidemic form. Indians are genetically three times more vulnerable to heart attacks. The average age of my patients in India is 45 years. It is not the young son bringing his old father for a heart operation. In my practice, it is the old father bringing his young son for a heart operation.”
From his words, you can imagine the adversity of heart diseases in India and the need to prevent incidences of heart attacks. But, how does one boost their heart health? How do you make sure you do not end up having heart failure? This World Heart Day, we wish to talk about the same. However, before going further into ways to improve your heart health, let’s talk about some factors affecting your heart health that is least talked about.
WHAT AFFECTS YOUR HEART HEALTH?
- Gut Health and Heart Health:
We all know how hypertension, cholesterol levels and diabetes can damage your blood vessels and affect the functioning of your heart. But did you know that your gut health also affects the health of your heart, especially if you have a family history of cardiovascular diseases? Yes, you read it right! Healthy gut microbiomes can prevent the hardening of arteries, coronary artery disease, heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, strengthening your gut is also extremely important to boost your heart health. And what can help you improve your gut health than a balanced and nutritious diet! Remember, healthy gut = healthy heart.
- Homocysteine Levels and Heart Health:
Homocysteine is a type of amino acid that your body uses for making proteins. However, a high level of homocysteine can make you more likely to develop heart diseases. It can damage the lining of your arteries and increase the chances of getting blood clots. Therefore, maintaining a healthy level of homocysteine is extremely important. Now, how do you do it? By including vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folate in the forms of food or supplements.
- Familial Predisposition and Heart Health:
Having close blood relatives with a history of cardiovascular diseases, strokes or heart attacks can also make you more prone to getting heart diseases. You may have inherited their genes. Therefore, it is very important to recognise family members with a history of heart diseases and take extra caution towards your heart health.
Tried and tested, this tip is not only easy but also highly effective. If you have a family history of heart disease, then make it a habit to drink some water before bathing and going to bed. Do not drink a lot of water as it may put pressure on your heart. In case of familial predisposition, it is also important to go for regular checkups of your blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels, etc.
Now, since we have talked about what affects your heart health, let’s move forward towards understanding how you can boost your heart health. Diet is undoubtedly the most important element to improve the functioning of your heart. But, what are some of the diet tips that can vastly help to keep your heart healthy?
DIET TO BOOST YOUR HEART HEALTH: SOME INTERESTING TIPS
- First and foremost, include millets and leafy vegetables in your diet. They are the key to unlocking the health of your heart.
- Next, start including walnuts in your diet. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and can help to boost your heart health multi-folds.
- You should also start eating seeds such as sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. These seeds contain unsaturated fatty acids and are one of the best foods for your heart.
- Raw cocoa is another good food for your heart. Rich in antioxidants, it can help to boost blood circulation in your body. But, always remember to eat raw cocoa in moderation. Otherwise, it may cause negative impacts on your health.
- We have already discussed the connection between gut health and heart health. Therefore, you must eat foods that can help to strengthen your gut health.
Eat homemade pickles. They are prebiotic foods that help to improve your gut bacteria. However, you must eat pickles in a decent quantity since they also contain high levels of salt.
- Limit saturated and avoid trans fats. With this, we are also recommending that you avoid eating a lot of baked goods. In bakery products, oil is exposed to a high temperature, which converts it to trans fat. Trans fat is your worst enemy.
- Another tip that you might have never heard of! Start eating a piece of nariyal or coconut every day. It contains good fat and can help to strengthen your heart significantly.