Healthy lifestyle and peaceful mind is not something people can expect in this fast moving world. To stay healthy and prevent the most common disease from affecting your body, you need to know how the heart works. The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood to the body. The heart consists of right and left sides. This division separates the oxygen-rich blood from the oxygen-poor blood. All the valves in the heart open and close each time you breathe. There are different types of cardiovascular diseases. Heart disease can be caused due to heart or blood vessel problems like building up of fatty plaques in the arteries, lack of flexibility and strength of the arteries.
Lots of pressure in the arteries can cause them to become stiff and thick. This hardening of the arteries is known as Atherosclerosis and can restrict the blood flow to other organs and tissues in the body. Unhealthy diets, lack of exercise, obesity or smoking are the main risk factors for this disease.
Heart Arrhythmia is caused by abnormal heart rhythms. The conditions that result in this abnormality are drug abuse, coronary artery disease, congenital heart defects (birth defects), diabetes, smoking, drug abuse, stress, high blood pressure, consumption of alcohol or caffeine (excessive), valvular heart disease, few over-the-counter medication, dietary supplements, herbal remedies and prescription medications.
Pericarditis, myocarditis and endocarditis are developed when bacterium, chemicals or virus reach the heart muscle. The most common causes of heart infections include:
Valvular heart disease can be caused by the damage of heart valves. Some conditions like connective tissue disorders, rheumatic fever, infectious endocarditis, certain medications or other radiation treatments for cancer.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the present generation. However there are a few measures you can take to prevent it. Birth disorders may not be cured completely by following the below prevention methods. To avoid heart problems in the future you need to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few prevention measures you can take for heart disease.
You need to find an exercise routine that you need to follow every day. It may be a simple routine but make sure that you concentrate on the whole body. Obesity is common in children these days. Overweight people need to focus on losing weight. It is extremely important to stay in a good shape. Extra fat on different parts of the body will cause discomfort and give rise to harmful diseases in the long run. Exercise will reduce the risk of heart disease. Even if you are on the slimmer side, exercise is essential!
Physical activity will reduce the chances of high cholesterol, diabetes, stress and blood pressure. Exercise of 30 minutes each day is recommended, but if you can allocate an hour every day, it could do wonders to your body. Try to stay as conscious as you can by taking the stairs, walking your dog or even gardening.
Having a huge tummy does not benefit you in anyway. Start losing it immediately! The fat that accumulates near the abdominal area will directly affect the heart. You can try some breathing exercises to cut down the fat in the tummy.
Maintaining a healthy weight in adulthood is the success key. Excess weight means that there are larger chances of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. To identify whether your body is healthy or prone to heart risk, you need to check your BMI. If your BMI is higher than 25 it means that you have an increased risk of heart disease.
The BMI is one way of finding out health risk. However the BMI can show imperfect results as a muscular and physically fit person’s BMI may be higher. It does not mean that they have health risks. Thus waist circumference is the best tool to measure your health risk. If a man’s waist is greater than 101.6 centimeters (40 inches) then he is considered as overweight. A woman’s waist circumference should be less than 88.9 centimeters (35 inches). A slight weight loss can benefit the body in many different ways.
Using tobacco or smoking can cause serious harm to the body. These are major risk factors for heart disease. Chemicals found in these drugs can damage the heart, blood vessels and arteries. The narrowing of the arteries will lead to heart attack. No amount of smoking is safe or acceptable. Every amount and type of smoking and intake of drugs is bad. Nicotine in cigarette smoke narrows the blood vessels making it harder for the heart to function normally. The heart does not receive enough oxygen and increases the risk of heart disease.
The best diet plan is to consume all kinds of healthy food. Adding a mixture of everything to your diet and eating foods that are low in fat, salt and cholesterol. Low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains are rich food that can protect your heart. Foods that can reduce the risk of heart disease include beans, certain types of fish and other low-fat sources of protein.
Saturated fat and Trans fat are known for increasing blood cholesterol and coronary artery disease. Dairy products, red meat, palm and coconut oils are the major sources of saturated fat. Crackers, bakery products, margarines, packed snack food and fast food (especially deep fried) are the major sources of Trans fat.
Polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease your risk of heart abnormalities. Fish like mackerel and salmon are a natural source of omega-3s. Walnut oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil and soybean oil hold smaller amounts of omega-3s.
Here are a few herbal remedies you can try to prevent and avoid heart disease. They will help you reduce cholesterol and other risky elements in the body that trigger heart disease.
Ginger which is commonly used in cooking is a great natural source for prevention of heart disease. This strong flavored root is also sold in capsule form. From the ancient time ginger has been used to treat many ailments. It is also helpful for muscle and joint pain. Adding ginger to your daily diet will reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Garlic is the member of the onion family. It is available in the form of extracts, oils and pills. It is a natural remedy to reduce LDL (Bad form) of cholesterol in the body. Garlic is used as a blood thinner to reduce atherosclerosis. Consumption of garlic is health but it should not be consumed in high quantities. Blood-thinning can prevent a few diseases in the body but too much of it may result in other kinds of problems.
Bilberry is quiet similar to blue berry and is an effective remedy to treat different kinds of problems in the body. It is also sold in capsule form. The fruit treats poor blood circulation in the body, especially in the veins. Other problems like skin problems, diarrhea, menstrual cramps and eyestrain.
Easily available in the market, grapefruit is perfect for the heart. You can drink fresh juice extracted from the fruit or buy it from the super market. Along with promoting heart health grapefruit is also helpful to lose weight. Single glass of grapefruit juice will double the calcium channel blocker amount available in the body.
Yes! Green tea, is another remedy to reduce the risk of heart problems. The leaves of Camellia sinensis plant are available in capsule or extract form. It is great for mental alertness, weight loss, prevent cancer and lower cholesterol. As green contains vitamin K consuming too much of it is not recommended.
Fenugreek seeds have been used extensively in ancient Egypt. The seeds or ground powder is used to cure many ailments including digestive problems, lowering blood sugar and lowering cholesterol. It is a very good remedy to prevent heart related diseases.
The pulp of the aloe vera, also known as aloe vera gel has many medicinal values. Diabetes, asthma, arthritis and epilepsy are just a few ailments that can be cured by consuming aloe vera. Consuming one gulp of aloe vera everyday can prevent many different kinds of diseases.
Cayenne is used often to spice up curries. The spice has capsaicin, a substance extremely good for the heart. It improves the elasticity of the blood vessels, making your body more healthy. It reduces the risk of clot formation and balances the levels of LDL cholesterol. Improving the cardiovascular system and bringing the blood pressure into the normal range are the major changes Cayenne does in the body.
Regular screening and check up of the body will help to keep a track of your body. These may seem like basic guidelines but they are the most important and neglected ones. I hope that everyone will take these prevention measures and decrease the risk of heart disease. Have a safe and lovely new year.
Devi Gajendran is a Post Graduate in Nutrition (University of Madras, Tamil Nadu) and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She is the chief advisor and full time contributor at the Fit Indian and has the final say on all the segments under the Fit Indian paradigm, such as beauty, fitness, home remedies, diseases, diet tips, weight loss, weight gain and so on. A foodie herself, she believes in the Hippocrates quote,” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A fitness enthusiast, she believes that the combination of diet and exercise can work wonders. When she is not sharing her valuable knowledge about food and fitness, she likes to spend quality time with her family members, do some healthy baking and listen to soft soulful music.
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