90% of american adults have more than one symptom of heart disease at some point of their lives.
No wonder why heart disease is the #1 killer, killing approximately one person every minute. The good news is: Heart problems are preventable and treatable as well.
But first, let’s become aware of the symptoms of heart diseases:
- Shortness Of Breath
- Chest Discomfort
- Pressure in the Chest
- Irregular heart beats (palpitations)
- Extreme weakness
- Intense anxiety or dizziness
- Fullness, nausea, indigestion
The above, though not all, are the most common symptoms of heart disorders.
And what follows now are 7 tiniest steps you can take to push heart disease a li’l more further. There are also some combos – which enhance the effect all more. In a synergistic manner.
Double win or epic loss – take your pick!
1. Swap refined oil, even better, olive oil with extra virgin version
Why you should do it: Why you should use Olive oil everyone knows. But, I’ll tell you why buying an extra virgin version is an even better idea. Extra virgin olive oil is richer in polyphenols which increase the amount of good HDL cholesterol and simultaneously reduce the bad LDL ones. Like a bad cholesterol flush!
2. Go for Reds
Why you should do it: The deeper the color of fruit, the richer it is in antioxidants. Applies to all colors. Didn’t know it?! Well, now you do. But, fruits and veggies like tomato, pink grapefruit, watermelon, grapes etc. are rich in lycopene and resveratol, both antioxidants useful in fighting LDL and thickening of blood. Thinner blood, better circulation!
Double win combo #1: Combining the above, 1 and 2, i.e., olive oil and reds, makes one’s body more absorptive to such antioxidants. We lose almost 45% of all the nutrients we take in through feces. But, when you eat both these together, you enhance your body’s capability to absorb and hence, the combo becomes a win-win.
3. Cut on second hand smoking
Why you should do it: A mere 5-minute exposure to second hand smoke stiffens your aorta considerably and the situation is further elevated by platelets becoming stickier, thereby reducing blood flow in coronary arteries (blood vessels that provide nutrition to heart). Hence, you are at greater risk to developing heart disorder in later stages of your life. More than the smoker, you are at risk!
4. Stock on Dark chocolate
Why you should do it: Any chocolate with around 70% cocoa content falls in the category of dark chocolate. While being low on sugar content, they boast of extreme amounts of flavonols which relax arteries and increase blood flow. So, now you know, why they are also an aphrodisiac!
5. Time for plan C, I mean…Citrus
Why you should do it: Apart from their many great benefits for beauty and truly invigorating aroma, citrus fruits are known to be rich in potassium which lowers risk of hypertension and boosts immunity. Did I mention they also reduce artery inflammation? Picture them as an internal site engineer for your heart.
Double win combo #2: Like I mentioned before, combining two might help them work their magic to even greater proportions. So, eat 4 and 5 together, say, a bite of orange with a bite into dark chocolate and catapult the antioxidant activity by six folds. Beautiful skin and strong heart, recipe for a great night! 😉
6. Not dairy but Soy milk
Why you should do it: Dairy milk comes with its own set of problems and allergies. Soy milk on the other hand is not only low fat but also keeps you protected from heart diseases. Its a store house of Isoflavons which drastically reduce cholesterol and, niacin that boosts circulation. All dairy benefits minus the allergies!
7. Don’t skin the Apple
Why you should do it: An apple a day, keeps the doctor away – we have grown up listening this quote day in and day out. Brace yourself before you read this: Apple, (I’m talking about one with skin intact) contains pectin which completely blocks the absorption of cholesterol. Completely. Now.that.is.Really something!
Double win combo #3: Take them together, like a shake or smoothie for not just a cleansed system but a peachy, blushed complexion too.
Now the things that mess up with your Heart’s health
1. B-Vitamin rich foods with coffee or alcohol or even animal foods like meat
Why you should avoid it: Vitamin B rich foods reduce homocysteine levels, a chemical linked to increase in heart health risks. Combining foods like milk, fortified cereals, green leafy veggies, etc. with coffee, alcohol and/or meat can negate the positive effects of heart healthy foods taken in first place. So, bad combo!
2. Zero exercise
Why you should avoid it: Athletes or sports persons or even normal people who exercise regularly are more attentive towards their medical conditions. It is not just a study but a common observation too. So, when you don’t exercise, at all, you deprive yourself from the obvious benefits of exercise like elevated energy levels and strong heart, but also lose the chance of an early diagnose.
3. Improper sleep
Why you should avoid it: Sleeping less than 7-8 hours is as harmful as sleeping more than 8 hours. A recent study found out that insufficient sleep leads to cardiovascular infarction and aggravated risk of stroke. But, lets face it, sleep is more like a luxury these days. And hence, find some time for some nap time!
To find out your ideal sleep time, read this quick infographic from Sleep Foundation.
Epic loss combo #1: (2 and 3) First, you don’t exercise, which weakens your heart as you age and then you don’t get enough sleep either, pushing it further in harm’s way. In short, you have just messed up with a time bomb. tick-tick..tick-tick!
4. A desk job
Why you should avoid it: Because it makes you lazy, a couch potato, and after bagging a desk job with a fat paycheck, most people just sit around whole day, getting fatter and far from fitter. And, if recent studies are to be believed, this is equivalent to smoking. Read: Couch Potato alert! Sitting is the new Smoking
5. Messed up desk
Why you should avoid it: The more visual stress, the more is your mental stress. And stress affects directly on your heart. Everybody knows it right?! Read this to find out how you can differentiate between productive and unproductive stress: Choose Peace: Facts on Mental Health
Epic loss combo #2: (4 and 5) I’m not explaining this. It is as simple as 1+1. All I’m suggesting is when you have a desk job, keep it clean and organized and indulge in some deskercises. 3 minutes of movement per hour, that’s all you need. Think you can afford that? Good!
Read: 30 Deskercises for you
6. Excessive smoking
Why you should avoid it: Are you really thinking I’d be telling you this? Smoking not only will make you age faster, but will corrupt your inner systems too. Not only your lungs but your heart would also be gasping for more air.
7. Mindless consumption of Vitamin E supplements
Why you should avoid it: Excess of Vitamin E or any such antioxidants have been linked to aggravating the risk of cancer. A load on lungs, will eventually hurt your heart and so, never consume multivitamin without medical consultation. For more light on this, read: Are Antioxidants bad for me?
Epic loss combo #3: (6 and 7) When you smoke, you increase your risk of contracting cancer and stroke, while combining it with multivitamin tablets, in no way helps your immune system get rid of them. It only increases the problem making it tougher for your system to fight them off. You’ll understand that once you read the antioxidant article I mentioned above.
That brings me to the end of it. We hoped to keep you updated with maximum information on heart health. So, as the month comes to an end, our Healthy Heart series concludes too. But this is no way means we would stop making efforts towards a healthier you. We are now all the more determined. To go through all that you can do for strengthening and protecting your heart, here is our round up post, with juice of all knowledge we shared.
Add an extra sharp edge to that knowledge bank