What is a Heart Healthy Diet?
Remember the old saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Let’s give it a new gender twist. It’s the same for women too! Now, we are not talking about Cupid and his funny games. We are talking about the heart and its health.
A great health concern for India is the occurrence of heart disease. It is estimated that there are over 30 million patients with heart disease. Most of us might be thinking that this is an urban phenomenon. On the contrary, there are 16 million heart patients in the rural areas as against 14 million in the urban areas.
It is an established fact that heart disease is the number-1 killer in India. The worrisome fact is that the age of heart patients seems to take a downward plunge. They are occurring to individuals even at the age of 25. To sum up, India accounts to 60% of the heart patients worldwide.
With 1.6 million heart strokes per year in the country, the need of the hour is educating the population. We need to inform people about the risks of bad lifestyle, bad diet, and other individual choices that lead to heart diseases.
Apollo Hospitals have been in the service of providing cardiac care for long. We have treated millions of heart patients. We believe that most of cardiac casualties could have been averted had they been aware of the great danger they had been exposed to.
In this blog, we would briefly understand heart disease and heart healthy diet.
What is Heart Disease?
Any type of disorder or malady that affects the heart is put under the umbrella term of heart disease. Most of us associate heart disease with the entire cardiovascular system; however, heart disease is different from cardiovascular disease. While cardiovascular disease refers to disorders of the blood vessels and the heart, heart disease refers only to the heart.
Most people are generally under the misunderstanding that when one gets heart disease, one can get a surgery and get totally cured. The truth is that it is a lifelong condition. Procedures improve the blood flow to the heart, but the fact remains that the arteries are damaged.
This calls for huge preventive measures as the condition of the arteries worsens if proper lifestyle changes are not made.
Common types of Heart Diseases
• Heart Attack.
• Coronary Artery Disease.
• Heart Enlargement.
• Atrial Fibrillation.
• Heart Valve Disease.
• Congenital Heart Disease.
• Sudden Cardiac Death.
Symptoms of Heart Disease
• Discomfort and heaviness in the chest area.
• Aching, and pressure sensation along with burning and squeezing sensation.
• Shortness of breath.
• Irregular heartbeats.
• Extreme weakness and fatigue.
• Dizziness and nausea.
How to avoid Heart Disease
One can always lower the risk of a heart disease by doing the following.
• Maintain good cholesterol levels. (Ideally total cholesterol should be under 200).
• Control hypertension and high blood pressure.
• Quit Smoking. This is very important.
• Exercise regularly.
• Maintain healthy weight. (A healthy range of BMI for Indians is between 18.5 to 25).
• Control stress and anger.
• Control Diabetes.
• Have a heart healthy diet.
What is a Heart Healthy diet?
It is found that foods that increase cholesterol levels in the body contribute to heart diseases. So, cutting down on foods that induce high cholesterol levels can certainly reduce the risk of heart disease. Reducing the amount of saturated and trans fats also reduces the amount of cholesterol in the blood thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.
At the same time, avoiding some foods isn’t enough to reduce the risk of heart diseases. One has to include foods that are rich in nutrients, fiber, and good fats. This would improve the heart health and would develop resistance to heart disease.
We all know that changing dietary habits that have formed over the years is difficult, but one has to put an effort to lead a healthy life. Oftentimes, it is the responsibility of the entire family to maintain a heart healthy diet. It is your choices that make you!
It starts with being aware of the number of calories taken in. The intake depends upon age, gender, activity levels and general health conditions. Consult a nutritionist and maintain the plan given. Often, a healthy heart diet combined with regular physical exercise can lower the risk of heart disease considerably.
Heart Healthy Diet Plan
Reduce the amount of food intake per meal. Maybe, go for a smaller plate!
Eat as per the suggestions of your nutritionist.
Increase intake of fruits and vegetables.
Prefer whole grains instead of refined grains.
Eat brown rice, wheat, barley, and oats.
Limit intake of saturated and trans fats.
Avoid butter, paneer, cheese, ghee, and red meat.
Go for skinless chicken, and fish.
Eat more nuts and legumes.
Reduce salt intake. For this, you have to consult your nutritionist as too much reduction can lead to sodium deficiency.
Consume fat free dairy products.
Avoid organ meats like liver, kidney and others. Avoid fried foods.
Want to turn towards a healthy life? Every one of us has made failed attempts to manage diet. It seems tough to turn over a new leaf, but it is possible with help and support.
Consult expert cardiologists and nutritionists of Apollo Hospitals. We would suggest you irresistible diet plans that would not only keep you healthy, but would restrict your gut from screaming for more! Book an online appointment now.