Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) continue to adversely affect our nation as sedentary lifestyles are fast becoming the norm for an average working citizen. It is a major cause of mortality globally, as well as in India. While medical practices continue to work on developing better and more effective cures, maintaining heart health remains the first line of defense for tackling the problem. Thus, every year on 29th September, World Heart Day is celebrated to raise awareness around Cardiovascular disease (CVD). This year’s theme ‘Use heart to connect’, is a reminder for many people across the world to take a step back, and start working towards ensuring their family and their own heart health. One of the main reasons for the ever-growing rate of CVD is the consistent lifestyle change that many Indians have undergone, including an absence of physical activity, poor dietary regimes, high consumption of sugar, salt, and high intake of saturated and/or trans fats.
However, in 2021, as the world adapts to an ever-changing sense of normal, it’s important to take a step back, and relook at lifestyle choices that individuals and families are making, and come together to lessen the impact of this morbid disease. As people across India adapt to this new sense of normal and acknowledge that the right nutrition is key to overall health. It’s important to make healthy lifestyle choices that will prove to be valuable over time. One can start incorporating small changes i.e. being conscious of what you eat as it might have a significant positive impact. Start by adding a handful of nuts like almonds to the family and your own daily diet, as they are a source of a variety of nutrients and make for a heart-healthy snack. According to nutrition research, a heart-healthy diet consisting of nutritious foods such as 1.5 servings (43 grams) of almonds every day may lower total and LDL cholesterol and reduce levels of heart-damaging inflammation. Consuming fish such as salmon or mackerel is also beneficial for the heart as they are a good source of Omega-3. Additionally, to keep the heart at its healthiest best, it’s important to watch what you eat and keep your weight under check. For someone who’s working towards maintaining their weight, almonds are a good snacking option as they are known to have satiating properties that promote feelings of fullness. In addition to significantly improving LDL cholesterol, snacking on 42 grams of almonds every day also reduced central adiposity (belly fat) and waist circumference, all well-established heart disease risk factors.
Apart from these, cultivating an active lifestyle by incorporating 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week, monitoring blood sugar and cholesterol levels and attempting to maintain the levels within prescribed limits along with completely swearing off smoking with moderated portion control basis suggestion from doctors and/or nutritionists is highly recommended to ensure a healthy health.