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World Heart Day is observed every year on 29th September. In the year 1999, the WHF or World Heart Federation in association with WHO or World Health Organization announced that World Heart Day will be observed every year to raise public awareness about cardiovascular disease, its prevention, and the global impact. The first observance of World Heart Day took place in the year 2000 (24th September). Cardiovascular or heart diseases are common across the globe and in the early 2000s, nearly 17 million people died from these diseases which is why people should be made aware of it more.

The statistics of heart diseases and consequent deaths in India is also an alarming one. Reports show that adults born after 1970 are more vulnerable to heart-related diseases. Heart diseases and stroke resulted in 28.1% of total deaths in India in 2016. In the years between 1990 and 2016, this percentage has gone up 13%. From air pollution to high cholesterol level – there are many reasons behind these statistics.

The theme of this year’s World Heart Day is “My Heart – Your Heart” and people will be urged to take up a promise to take care of the self and the others around. Taking a cue from that, here is a list of the easy and simple ways that anyone can follow to maintain a good heart.

Walking:

A brisk walk or smooth walk for 10 minutes minimum is very important. There is workload in office and at home and thus you may not be getting that ample amount of time to go for running or gym. But you have to manage this 10 minutes at least. It is better if you can wake up 10 minutes earlier in the morning to walk on the grass in your garden, on your concrete terrace, or simply walk on the empty road. Just 10 minutes every day will save your life.

Breakfast:

A healthy breakfast is another important thing that should not be missed at any cost. Have whole grains, bran flakes, oatmeal, whole-wheat toast, milk, fruit juices, smoothies, and fruits. If you cannot sit down and finish your breakfast, then, carry it with you.

Fruits & Vegetables:

Have all the seasonal fruits and vegetables which will not only give you a healthy heart but also make sure that you don’t fall sick at all. Have at least 2 types of fruits and 3-4 types of vegetables daily. It will be wonderful if you can choose the leafy vegetables and have a stew or salad of them but it is ok even if you are having those vegetables cooked in spices.

Cut Down Sugary Drinks:

Ok so you cannot adopt this habit readily but over some time, you can if you have the will. Cut down at least one sugar-sweetened soda or drink from your daily intake and you will notice a change slowly. If you have 3 cups of tea or coffee all through the day, then start with removing sugar from 1 cup of tea or coffee. Check your weight before and after when you start this practice- you will definitely see a change.

Nuts or Dry Fruits:

A handful of almonds, peanuts, cashew nuts, walnuts, or any other dry fruit is essential. They are loaded with antioxidants which fight against the free radicals and give you a healthier heart. Instead of that packet of chips or cookies which you have as your evening snack, have these nuts and dry fruits. In fact, you can have some of them before lunch and after breakfast also. They will also keep you full for a longer time.

Fish & Sea Food:

Any kind of fish and seafood can be eaten once a week instead of mutton or red meat. They contain omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin B2, and D along with calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. They are also low-fat and high-quality protein food which will keep your heart healthy along with your brain.

Smoking:

Smoking damages the lining of the arteries leading to a build-up of fat. If you have a habit of smoking, you definitely cannot quit it overnight. You will need time – so, take your time to cut down 1 cigarette per day and turn that into 2 then 3 and then eventually a time will come when you won’t need it anymore. Always remember that it is always a strong will power that brings a change in life.

Drinking:

Get a chart of how much water you must have daily and follow that strictly. Water flushes out the toxins from the body and helps the organs to function better. Also, many research and studies reveal that having a glass of wine per day is good for a healthy heart.

Deep Breathing:

Whenever you are tensed at the workplace or home, simply close your eyes and take 10-15 deep breathes. You will feel a lot easier then. Tension leads to stress and that leads to anxiety and all these things are just not good for your heart. So, make a practice of it. In fact, many doctors say that if you take deep breathes before going to bed, you will enjoy a night of better sleep.

Laugh & Make Others Laugh Often:

There is only one life and one chance to witness this beautiful planet. Life never happens minus problems. So, brooding over your problems won’t be a solution. Laughing often eases off the load you have inside you. Make laughing a practice and you will feel a lot better and your heart will also be ok. And remember that everyone you see in the crowd, in the metro, on a bus, in office, in malls – is going through some kind of problems in their lives. You cannot make everyone laugh, but at least make an effort to make those laugh who you know personally.

Last but not the least, you also need to bring a more positive attitude towards yourself, towards others, and towards life.

Are these steps too difficult to maintain? If you think so, or in case you want to be a bit more methodical, then, you can start adopting one habit per month. By imbibing these simple practices in your life, you will become a healthier person. Share these points with your loved ones too and inspire them to stay fit.

Do you know that heart diseases account for nearly 1/3rd deaths across the world? In India also the cardiovascular diseases are rising at an alarming rate. To keep yourself away from the risk of heart-related problems, all you need to do is bring some kind of food in your regular menu. Food gives us energy and builds our body inch by inch. Therefore, the selection of good food is important. In fact, certain foods can impact blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol levels, and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.

Here are a few examples of heart-healthy food types that should be in your grocery list from tomorrow:

Almonds:

You must have been served almonds in the morning that were soaked in water overnight especially before exams. Ancestors used to say that almonds sharpens the brains and helps in memorizing things. But do you know almonds also have other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that provide you a healthy heart? They are great sources of monounsaturated fats and fibers that help fighting heart diseases. They also have a powerful effect on cholesterol levels and helps you in losing weight too.

Berries:

Many studies have revealed that berries can reduce the risk of heart diseases. Those fresh, juicy, and tasty strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are loaded with antioxidants that play a pivotal role in keeping your heart healthy. Anthocyanins – they are the primary antioxidant that is present in berries and they protect against the oxidative stress and inflammation that in turn develops heart diseases. So, include berries in your breakfast or have them as snacks.

Fatty Fish & Fish Oils:

You may not like the smell of fishes or you may have never consumed fish in your life, but knowing the benefits of eating fish may change your mind. Fatty fishes like mackerel, tuna, salmon, and sardines are enriched with omega-3 fatty acids which is a prime ingredient behind a healthy heart. Those who consume fish regularly have lower cholesterol.

Tomatoes:

The fresh red tomatoes have lycopene – it is a natural pigment with powerful antioxidants. This helps in neutralizing the harmful free radicals, prevents oxidative damage, reduces inflammation, and finally promotes a healthy heart. Have more tomatoes in your salads or have it in juice form.

Green Leafy Veggies:

Nothing can be as healthy as the fresh and green spinach, kale, and collard greens. They are rich in minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. In particular, these green leafy veggies are rich in Vitamin K that helps in protecting your arteries. They also promote proper blood clotting. Green leafy veggies also reduce BP, arterial stiffness, and improves the functioning of cells lining the blood vessels.

Olive Oil:

Replacing your normal mustard oil or refined oil with olive oil will give you great health. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and the risk of heart ailments. It is also a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids that improves heart health. Use olive oil for your salads, stir-fries, and all kinds of cooking.

Whole Grains:

Whole grains generally include whole wheat, oats, brown rice, rye, quinoa, barley, and buckwheat. Compared to the refined grains, these whole grains have high fiber content that reduces bad cholesterol and thus the risk of heart diseases also decreases.

Garlic:

In India, garlic is very common in various food types. For centuries, garlic has been used as a natural remedy to treat a variety of ailments and now recently it has also been proved to have medical properties that help in keeping the heart safe. A compound named Allicin is found in garlic that is believed to have a multitude of therapeutic effects. Garlic improves BP and cholesterol and helps inhibit blood clot formation. But simply frying the pieces and using in food is not going to help you. Have it raw one or two cloves daily. You can also crush it and let it sit for a few minutes before using it for cooking. This process allows the formation of Allicin.

Green Tea:

Green tea is like the revelation of the century – isn’t it? From aiding in weight loss to solving indigestion, from giving a glowing skin to now lowering risks of heart diseases – is there anything else that green tea cannot do?

Green tea is a rich source of polyphenols and catechins. Thus it helps in lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. They also help in reducing cell damage, inflammation, and protecting the overall heart health. So, replace your normal milk-sugar tea with green tea. Green tea is available in a variety of flavors like ginger, tulsi, lemon, chamomile, etc. Choose the one you like and stay hale and hearty. But once in two days you can enjoy your kind of milk and sugar tea but don’t forget to increase your intake of green tea on those cheat days.

Dark Chocolate:

Many people don’t like the taste of dark chocolates – because it is devoid of sweetness. It has more cocoa content that leads to a bitter taste. This high cocoa content makes it rich in antioxidants like flavonoids that boosts a healthy heart. Consumption of a bite of dark chocolate daily leads to lower risks of heart diseases. A study on a group of people who consumed dark chocolates 5 times a week had 57% less risk of heart diseases. So, pick up the dark chocolates with more than 70 % of cocoa content and keep your heart cheerful.

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