Nutritionists explain how a healthy diet and lifestyle can benefit your heart.
Many of us would think twice before saying no to a delicious, hearty meal any time of the day. Only thing is, we tend to overlook an important aspect the moment we lay our eyes on a sumptuous spread — the harmful effects food can have on our health and more specifically, our heart.
The heart, the most vital organ in the body, is mostly at the receiving end of our unhealthy indulgences, thus, leading to cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol and hypertension.
But the good part is, just a few simple steps such as eating healthy, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco can improve the heart’s well-being. On this World Heart Day, Nidhi Arora, senior therapist, and Taranjeet Kaur, senior nutritionist from AktivOrtho, and Lalitha Subramanyam, chief nutritionist from Grow Fit, tell us about the positive effects of a healthy diet on the heart.
*Eating proper and balanced meals every day
It is important to follow a proper diet because a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol reduces LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels in the body too. All the different meals should contain a different high biological value protein.
*Eat green leafy vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products
All meals should comprise an adequate amount of vegetables and fruits because they have high satiety index and, therefore, regulate appetite. They are low in fat and high in fibrous content, both of which are beneficial for the heart. Foods that are fat-free and low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts and vegetable oils should also be a vital part of your meal.
*Keep a 5-hour gap in between each of the three meals
Frequently eating does not allow the insulin levels of the body to decrease which in turn, results in more cholesterol and fatty acids or lipids’ production in the system. High cholesterol is the root cause of many chronic diseases.
*Drink adequate water through the day
It is important to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day. Water keeps the body dehydrated and flushes out the toxic remnants of the body.
*Regulate the consumption of sugar, sugary products and salt
High intake of sugar leads to high insulin levels in the body and inflammation and damage of the arteries. Not just that, excessive sugar consumption also leads to weight gain, further increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Thus, avoid fast foods because they contain starch, sugar and trans fats. A low-salt diet prevents high blood pressure and reduces the risk of congestive heart failure.
*Avoid added sugars and preservatives
Processed foods contain added sugar and preservatives that harm the heart and even cause obesity. Thus, to avoid processed foods is beneficial. After all, obesity isone among the most risky factors that cause CHD, or Coronary Artery Disease.
*Do regular exercise
Physical activity must be maintained regularly along with the diet, that is, at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
Heart diseases are preventable; certain lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the progression of a pre-existing condition or prevent future complications. Managing heart diseases through diet has a high success rate, not only does a healthy diet confer protection from heart diseases but also helps maintain an overall well-being.