The year 2021 is like a sequel to 2020, which has impacted a lot of people, both – emotionally and physically. The second wave of Covid-19 has taken a toll on people’s health, especially heart health. Also, people with pre-existing heart ailments are more susceptible to acquiring the Covid-19 infection, as compared to their healthier counterparts.
Having said this, there are doable solutions that can help in improving heart health, and increase overall wellbeing. As the saying goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure.’ Following a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and a balanced diet, can nip it in the bud. However, even if the damage is done, some measures can be adopted to improve heart health.
A lot of research done in the area of heart health and lifestyle factors have helped us to formulate or derive easy-to-follow tips to combat heart diseases.
Let us have a look at some tips for a healthy heart:
- Lifestyle Changes: Incorrect lifestyle habits are often the reason for chronic illnesses like heart diseases, diabetes, cancer and others. A lot of new platforms are now emerging to offer solutions for these problems – one such being Smit.fit. Listed below are some recommended lifestyle changes that will help in preventing heart diseases:
- Discontinue smoking: Smoking is known to increase the risk of developing heart diseases. Giving up smoking is one change that can be made to have a healthy heart. Watch this short video on simple ways to reduce or quit smoking.
- Getting good quality sleep:Sleep is an important aspect of overall well-being and health. It helps in improving heart functions, blood supply, and reduces stress. It also helps the body to recover and rejuvenate from the daily physical and mental wear and tear. Ensure you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep in a day to have a healthy heart and a healthy mind.
- Manage stress:Stress is one of the major risk factors for developing heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Chronic stress can give rise to many lifestyle diseases like Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks and so on. Simple measures like finding time for a leisure activity, bonding with family, meditating, pursuing a hobby or a passion, are some ways that can help in managing day-to-day stress.
- Nutrition: Correct diet and nutrition are the mainstays in managing heart diseases. A lot of evidence has surfaced over the years in the area of heart health and nutrition globally, chalking out several recommendations to follow for good heart health. Here are some tips:
- Achieving and maintaining healthy body weight is one of the ways by which many heart diseases can be prevented. People with a higher waist circumference and Body Mass Index (BMI) are more prone to developing metabolic diseases like diabetes, heart diseases and even some types of cancers.
- Include more fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains and pulses. Read this blog on veganism to gain more insight on how clean eating can help to improve overall health and improve heart health.
- Reduce the consumption of processed and packaged foods. Read the blog on how to read food labels to make an informed choice while buying food. Packaged foods contain trans-fat, excess salt, and hidden sugars that when consumed in excess and over years, can lead to the development of heart diseases like deranged cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
- Limit the consumption of red meat and organ (offal) meat; instead include more lean meat options like chicken and fish. Red meat and organ meats contain a lot of fat and some harmful compounds that can clog arteries and cause heart diseases when consumed over a prolonged time.
- Avoid consumption of fried foods, sugar-rich food and sugary beverages. Consumption of these unhealthy foods can lead to the development of multiple chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, PCOS and heart diseases. Switch to healthy eating habits to prevent and manage lifestyle diseases in a better way.
- Exercise: Sitting is the new smoking. Sitting for long hours at a stretch has been linked as a causative factor for developing chronic lifestyle conditions. The American Heart Association recommends 150 mins/week of physical activity for good heart health. Regular physical activity has numerous benefits. It helps in maintaining healthy body weight, reduces bad cholesterol, improves blood supply to the body and help in reducing stress.
- Including any form of physical activity like yoga, brisk walking, swimming, cycling, and fun activities like Zumba can be made a part of the routine to prevent heart diseases and improve heart health. Check our videos on yoga and isometric exercises to know how you can benefit from various exercises.
- Regular screening: If you have a genetic predisposition to heart disease, it is always best to get yourself screened routinely for heart ailments. Your family physician will suggest timely screenings and routine tests to always be at the top of your heart health game. Some routine tests include lipid profile, blood pressure, body weight, and waist circumference amongst others.
Following these basic recommendations and including them in your routine will go a long way in ensuring a healthy heart, and preventing other chronic lifestyle diseases like Diabetes, thyroid imbalance, PCOS and cancer. You will not only feel better but also reduce the chances of being affected by the Covid-19 virus, and positively impact others around you. You can download the Smit.fit app to find your health companion in chronic lifestyle disease management. Leave us a message to get in touch with us and know more.