February is all about hearts, not just the kinds that is filled with chocolates. It is also National Heart month! Heart is your body’s engine hence keep it strong and put good fuel in with healthy food or habits. Listen to your heart, your heart will thank you!
Unfortunately, heart disease can happen to anyone at any time, it is the leading cause of death in most countries. It is no rocket science to take care of it. Here are some easy heart healthy tips to increase your heart related awareness for February and beyond. So take care of your health, it’s the only one you’ve got!
1) Practice good dental hygiene and floss your teeth daily to ward of gum disease.
2) Dancing or dance based workouts is a good cardio workout and doesn’t feel like an exercise. Basically target two and half hours of aerobic activity per week. Don’t sit for too many hours at one time.
3) Walk your way to good health. Walk your child to school, take the stairs, walk your dog or just take a nice long walk in the park with your kith n kin. You are sure to keep your weight under control.
4) Limit your sodium rich food, saturated fat and processed food intake- hot dogs, burgers, white flour, canned foods, meats.
5) Limit your alcohol intake. Not more than a drink or two if at all.
6) Healthy diet is one of the keys to fine health. Cook food at home, if eating out make healthy choices.
7) Heart healthy foods include pomegranates, tomatoes, red fine, tart cherries, apples, red kidney beans, red bell peppers, strawberries, watermelon, asparagus, soaked pine nuts, Portobello mushrooms, blackberries, goat milk yogurt, spaghetti squash, egg whites, salmon, raw almonds, avocado, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, cranberries, oats, sweet potato, extra virgin olive oil and green tea. Focus should be on plant based foods and eating health fats instead of trans fats or baked foods.
8) Dark chocolate once in a while helps prevent heart disease.
9) Get enough sleep.
10) Avoid second hand smoke. Passive smokers are at risk too, so non-smokers beware.
While you should take care of your health in the above mentioned ways, here are some broad symptoms to be heart aware include- Anxiety, chest discomfort, cough, dizziness, fatigue, nausea or lack of appetite, pain in other parts of the body, rapid or irregular pulse/heartbeat, short of breath, sweating, swelling, ear noise or buzzing, nosebleeds, tiredness, vision changes, weakness.
Have A Heart
Cardiac Surgeon, Dr. Zainulabedin Hamdulay, gives us detailed inputs on how one can take care of matters of the heart. He says, ‘ Heart is a very important organ in your body. It is working round the clock, yet it never gets tired. The heart pumps the blood, which carries all the vital materials which help our bodies function properly. Heart, being such an important organ, it is only imperative that you take good care of it, so that it keeps ticking and you live a healthy and enriching life. Whether young or old heart disease can affect any body, so following the old adage prevention id better than cure, one should maintain his/her heart health for optimum life. Make a smart choice now that will pay in the long run. Remember age is not a factor; you are never too young or too old to do what is best or your heart. Lack of exercise, unhealthy lifestyle, a poor diet all over the years can cause damage to your heart.
Taking care of your heart early in life puts you life in healthy zone. One is never too young or too old to take care of one’s heart. If you are in your 20s start early with all the things that will make your heart healthy. If you are in your 30s and busy in balancing family and professional commitments, ignoring heart health, don’t worry it’s not too late, start by heart health check up and follow the rules for healthy heart. If heart health was not your priority in your 40s, don’t panic but yes make healthy choices which will strengthen your heart or a long haul make required lifestyle changes tackle them one by one, each success should make you confident or achieving the next one. The wrinkles and graying o hair in your 50s indicate about your advancing age but about the condition aging has on your heart, in this age you need extra care towards your heart.’
Dr. Zainulabedin further suggests the do’s & don’ts to protect your heart - Be physically active. It is easier to be active and stay active if you start at a young age.
Quit Smoking – If you are a smoker, it’s time to quit smoking. Even exposure to second-hand smoke will result in a serious health hazard. Non-smokers are up to 30 percent more likely to develop heart disease.
Have regular wellness exams Ask your physician’s opinion about your lifestyle, diet, blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, body mass index and blood sugar. Knowing where your numbers stand early makes it easier to spot a possible change in the future.
Family history – If you have a relative from your parent side who is a heart patient you need to be caution as it may increase your risk, it means you have to focus on factors which can risk you, you should control it by maintaining a healthy habit, proper eating, weight check, exercising regularly, not smoking, etc Consult your doctor about the heart problem you learnt about your family member.
Check your stress level – Keeping a check on the stress level and learning how to manage it will do good to your body and will increase your quality of life.
Weight Check – Your metabolism may slow down, watch your weight. You should avoid weight gain by following a heart-healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise.
Blood sugar level check – In addition to all your heart-health screenings, you should get your blood glucose tested. This test serves as a baseline for future tests, which you should have regularly on the advice of your physician.
A healthy lifestyle and diet is the best weapon against heart diseases. Thus an overall healthy nutritional diet is a must. Include varieties of fruits and vegetables, whole grains,low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes. Limit saturated fat, Trans fat, sodium or salt, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. Consult your doctor or a dietician for a healthy diet plan that will help strengthen your heart.’
Have a happy heart!