India has some of the highest rates of cardiac diseases and cardiac-related deaths. An indicator of poor cardiac health is high blood pressure, and a large part of the population experiences high blood pressure. Measures have to be taken to preserve heart health since it is the most important organ in our body that cannot be replaced easily.
Some ways to preserve heart health are:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet – Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins and avoiding foods high in salt and fats is beneficial for the heart. Consuming foods that are smoked, canned, or highly processed can also be harmful to heart health in the long run, since excess sodium puts pressure on the heart. Eating a wholesome, nutritious diet reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation.
- Exercise regularly – Different kinds of exercise offer several benefits to the body. Exercising includes resistance training, working on flexibility, and aerobic activity. Regular exercising reduces blood pressure and cholesterol and helps with weight control. Starting slowly and gradually building endurance is achievable and sustainable, unlike engaging in exercising suddenly and aggressively. Some physical activity is better than no physical activity.
- Stress management – Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, but chronic stress can have an impact on our hormones and general functioning. Stress increases inflammation, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Additionally, it gives way to risks that can worsen cardiovascular health, like smoking and consuming alcohol. Yoga, exercising, keeping in touch with loved ones, playing with pets, and generally engaging in activities we like reduces stress and its consequences.
- Alcohol consumption, tobacco, and smoking – When we are stressed, we reach out for foods high in calories and engage in drinking and smoking because it feels like they relax our bodies but, in reality, put more stress on the body, especially in the longer run. It is recommended people do not drink at all since there is no safe amount, but if they must, they should have moderate alcohol consumption and should not smoke or be around second-hand smoke to promote good health and discourage unhealthy habits. After a year of quitting smoking, a person’s risk of cardiovascular diseases is cut down by half as compared to a smoker. The risk of heart disease also lowers to that of a non-smoker if a person has quit smoking for 15 years.
- Get regular health screenings – Sometimes, people may not exhibit symptoms from high blood pressure and blood sugar, which can cause damage to the heart. By getting screened regularly, you reduce the chances of developing serious chronic conditions and can make changes when needed than making changes after it is too late.
- Don’t neglect your oral hygiene – Oral hygiene has a direct impact on heart health since poor hygiene can increase the risk of bacterial infection in the bloodstream and plaque buildup can affect our blood vessels. Brushing twice a day is optimal for oral and cardiac health.