How to promote heart health?
Supplements and General Health • • 1 minute to read • By INFS Faculty
Author- Dr. Akshay Alawani
Co. Author - Shubham Modi
When we talk about health, we all know that there are 3 components, Mental, Physical and social well-being. In isolation, Heart health can be managed and improved primarily by healthy dietary habits and exercise!
Given the amount of work this organ has to do, keeping it healthy will make sure that it keeps on performing one of the most vital functions responsible for survival, yes, pumpkin the blood throughout the body, for decades!
The deaths due to Cardiovascular diseases have been reduced to a great extent in the most developed countries ( Sreeniwas et.al, 2020), but for India, as per the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990–2016, Cardiovascular diseases are now a leading cause of mortality (Prabhakaran et al., 2018).
Embracing this truth and working on the factors which we’re going to discuss today can save you and can lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes and can help us outrun the clock before a new pandemic hits us!
In this article, we’ll be discussing the pointers to help you keep your heart healthy.
1. Weight loss
Obesity is a well-known issue. Obesity comes with a cluster of issues, and most of the time it affects cardiovascular health and is excessive body weight because of extra body fat. With excessive body fat and dyslipidemia, the chances of getting a stroke, or heart issues increase. The latest evidence suggests that a reduction in 5-10% of body weight is beneficial in improving the biomarkers as well as the lipid profile. (Ryan et.al, 2017)
Limit the overall fat intake to 30% of total calories consumed and limit saturated fat intake up to 10% is suggested. The effects of saturated fats on Low-density Lipoprotein __ and High-density Lipoprotein __ are well known (Eilat-Adar et. al, 2013). Focus on eating unsaturated fats such as fatty fish and olive oil. This approach has been shown to prevent plaque formation in arteries. ( Nettleton et. al, 2017)
3. Limit salt and sugar
Salt is a source of sodium, which is an electrolyte mineral. Consuming excess sodium makes a person retain extra water, and consistently doing so will increase the stress on the arteries and heart walls. Hypertension also happens with an imbalance of cholesterol levels inside the body. LDL can deposit lipids in the artery walls and that constriction of blood vessels leads to hypertension. Limiting salt to a teaspoon a day is crucial in preventing and managing hypertension. ( Zhou et.al, 2013)
Sugar, as a nutrient, does not have a direct link to cardiovascular diseases but most sugary food items are highly palatable and can lead to increased calorie intake. That extra added weight in the form of fats contributes to increased cardiovascular risk. ( Khan et.al, 2016)
Eating dietary fiber (~30g/ day) is beneficial not only for gut health but even for the health of the heart. ( Evans C. 2020) An increase in fiber intake has been shown to lower blood cholesterol and hypertension.
Exercise has been shown to improve cardiorespiratory fitness (VO 2 ), improvement in antioxidant mechanisms, reduce chronic inflammation, and improve blood circulation to various tissues including the heart. ( Pinckard et. al, 2019).
30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or activity spending 1000 kcal/week was recently recommended for the Indian population.
- Eilat-Adar, S., Sinai, T., Yosefy, C., & Henkin, Y. (2013). Nutritional recommendations for cardiovascular disease prevention. Nutrients, 5(9), 3646–3683. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5093646
- Evans C. (2020). Dietary fibre and cardiovascular health: a review of current evidence and policy. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 79(1), 61–67. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0029665119000673
- Khan, T. A., & Sievenpiper, J. L. (2016). Controversies about sugars: results from systematic reviews and meta-analyses on obesity, cardiometabolic disease, and diabetes. European journal of nutrition, 55(Suppl 2), 25–43. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-016-1345-3
- Nettleton, J. A., Brouwer, I. A., Geleijnse, J. M., & Hornstra, G. (2017). Saturated Fat Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Ischemic Stroke: A Science Update. Annals of nutrition & metabolism, 70(1), 26–33. https://doi.org/10.1159/000455681
- Pinckard, K., Baskin, K. K., & Stanford, K. I. (2019). Effects of Exercise to Improve Cardiovascular Health. Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine, 6, 69. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2019.00069
- Prabhakaran, D. et al. (2018) ‘The changing patterns of cardiovascular diseases and their risk factors in the states of India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990–2016’, The Lancet Global Health, 6(12), pp. e1339–e1351. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30407-8.
- Ryan, D. H., & Yockey, S. R. (2017). Weight Loss and Improvement in Comorbidity: Differences at 5%, 10%, 15%, and Over. Current obesity reports, 6(2), 187–194. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-017-0262-y
- Sreeniwas Kumar, A., & Sinha, N. (2020). Cardiovascular disease in India: A 360-degree overview. The medical journal, Armed Forces India, 76(1), 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mjafi.2019.12.005
- Zhou, B., Wang, H. L., Wang, W. L., Wu, X. M., Fu, L. Y., & Shi, J. P. (2013). Long-term effects of salt substitution on blood pressure in a rural north Chinese population. Journal of human hypertension, 27(7), 427–433. https://doi.org/10.1038/jhh.2012.63
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