We all know that the heart is vital to our survival. Cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. The critical part is to keep these diseases at bay by taking good care of our hearts. The heart is a muscle. Therefore, like any other muscle, it needs attention. Also, the heart has an intimate relationship with the nervous system. Our emotions therefore also play an important role in the health of our heart.
Dos and don’ts for a healthy heart are always on our minds. But most of us struggle to create a routine that involves these heart-healthy habits. These regimens can enable you to be more active and productive. In this blog, let’s make a recipe for a healthy heart that is easy to adopt.
How can we keep our heart healthy?
Many of us think you have to be a runner or gym freak to excel at heart-healthy exercise. But it’s not right.
You can start by setting a goal. A goal could be 30-45 minutes of brisk walking with your partner five days a week or a daily swim with the family. Always try to change your exercise regimen until and unless you find your favorite exercise.
It can be zumba or cycling, or hiking uphill. According to the American Heart Association, at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week is needed to keep your heart healthy. If you like vigorous exercise, such as running, swimming or cycling, a 75-minute workout schedule is enough for you. So tune in to some music, indulge in your favorite pastime and enjoy a happy life with a healthy heart.
- A Mediterranean diet
It’s not easy to maintain a restrictive diet. The best way to eat healthily is to gradually guide yourself to a plant-based and fish-based diet. You can limit your red meat intake to once every two weeks. Create a diet plan that uses olive oil, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish and whole grains as staples. It’s okay to eat your favorite fries and pizza once in a while. They can be your cheat meals after you hit your diet goals. This healthy eating pattern can prevent various cardiovascular diseases, promote healthy aging and improve quality of life.
- Healthy sleep is an asset
One should aim for at least six hours of sleep per day. According to several studies, too much or too little sleep can affect your heart health. People who sleep less than six hours have a higher risk of heart attack. Alternatively, people who like to stay in bed more than 9 hours a night have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. While it’s impossible to sleep 6 hours a day, creating a sleep schedule can be a big help. A good night’s sleep lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. Try to create a peaceful atmosphere in your bedroom for better sleep quality. Also avoid all gadgets before crashing into bed.
You don’t have to be a pro to start meditating. Start with baby steps. Your first meditation session can last about five minutes. You can gradually increase the duration. There are many apps that can help you meditate. Try to score twenty minutes of focused meditation time each day. If sitting in one place isn’t your thing, try meditating while cooking, walking, or bathing.
- The health of your teeth is also crucial.
Talking about healthy teeth during a discussion about heart disease seems surprising. But one study showed that people who brush less than twice a day with less than two minutes of brushing have a greater risk of developing heart disease. Periodontitis (gum disease) and poor dental health increase the risk of bacterial infection in the blood, which increases your risk of heart valve disease and cardiovascular disease. So the next time you brush your teeth, you’re not only helping your teeth, but your heart as well.
The above lifestyle tips can protect you from heart disease. No medications are involved in these lifestyle tips. We can prevent most cases of cardiovascular disease including coronary heart disease, heart attack or heart failure by adopting this healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Anand Pandey, Director & Senior – Cardiology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi