You might not give much thought throughout the day, but your heart is the most important muscle in your body. It is functioning around the clock for you to pump blood and oxygen to all of your organs. Changing your eating habits can tough even though you might know that eating certain foods can increase your heart disease risk.
When your heart doesn’t get the care it needs, serious problems can develop in the lining of the arteries, which will lead to blockages and the worst-case scenario – Heart attack. By understanding the conditions that affect your habits and the heart it can help prevent or manage them.
1. Include Fruits and Vegetables
When you start to add these, you are making a heart-healthy choice. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of Vitamins and minerals, are rich in dietary fibre and are also low in calories. Try including apples, berries, avocados, broccoli, spinach, coriander, bottle gourd, bitter gourd in your diet (starchy vegetables are a big ‘no’).
2. Opt for white meat
White meat has long been the protein of choice for lean-meat lovers. It is good for managing cholesterol and is rich in protein and less saturated fat as compared to red meat. Try including fish like salmons, tuna, sardines, oysters, chicken, turkey in your diet. Eggs too are a great source of proteins.
3. Whole grains
Go for whole grains over refined grains that are much processed and lower in nutrients. Whole grains contain a wide range of nutrients including fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which are good for our hearts. You can include whole oats, barley, brown rice, millet, buckwheat and quinoa.
4. Limit your salt intake
Too much of sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and strokes. Your body only needs a little bit of salt every day for the sodium it contains.
5. Go nuts
Dry fruits can control cholesterol and normalise blood pressure. They supress hunger and is the best to consume them during evening snack times. Rich in vitamins, dietary fibre and minerals, dry fruits make for a delicious and healthy snack. Health experts recommend eating dry fruits like apricots, walnuts, almonds and pistachios to stay healthy.
6. Bowl of portions (pulses)
Pulses need to be a part of your daily intake as they are a rich source of fibre and proteins. Pulses like toor dal, split peas, chickpeas, moong dal and kidney beans are good not only for your heart but also for your overall health.
A few more tips to keep your heart healthy:
- Cut down on alcohol
- Exercise regularly
- Say no to smoking/tobacco
- Reduce the intake of sweets
- Don’t over eat
- Treat yourself occasionally
- Lessen your consumption of dairy
- Eat salads before any meal
- Switch to good cooking oil
Bottom line: Remember, healthy habits make you healthy. You hold the power to maintain your health and take care of your body. Make healthy choices and live a lifestyle that helps your heart stay at its best.