As the world mourns the untimely demise of the Iconic Cricketer Shane Warne to Cardiac Arrest, it becomes even more essential to draw our attention to the kind of daily choices we make in our day to day life to ensure heart health and wellness. According to WHO out of the 17 million premature global deaths in the year 2019, 38% were caused due to Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) and heart attacks.
It’s no secret that the kind of lifestyle choices one makes in their daily life has a huge impact on the overall health and wellbeing of an individual. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) confirms the same in their guidelines that address the importance of diet, nutrition, physical activities, body weight, and lifestyle patterns over heart health.
These guidelines suggest increasing the consumption of natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and legumes while limiting the intake of saturated fats, sodium-rich foods, sweetened or aerated beverages, processed meats, and refined carbs. Complete elimination of trans fats from the diet is absolutely essential as per the ACC guidelines.
Other lifestyle Changes to Lower the Risk of Heart Attack
The ABCDES acronym can help us understand and remember the lifestyle and behavioral essentials while talking about reducing the risks of a heart attack. The ABCDES may be expanded as:
- Blood Pressure
- Diabetes and Diet
- Smoking, Stress, and Sleep
Now let us individually analyze each of these to lower the chances of a heart attack.
1. REDUCE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION:
Excessive intake of alcohol increases the risk of heart attack and liver diseases. Light to moderate rate of alcohol consumption suggests not more than 100 grams of alcohol per week.
2. HOW TO KEEP A CHECK ON YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE LEVELS?
Ensuring a balanced blood pressure level has a direct impact on heart health. This can be done by following a rich and healthy diet pattern such as the Mediterranean Diet or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet.
These two heart-healthy food plans regulate blood pressure levels by increasing the intake of natural foods in the diet and limiting or completely eliminating the consumption of sugar, alcohol, salt, processed carbohydrates, and saturated fat from the diet.
3. HOW TO REDUCE CHOLESTEROL LEVELS?
Increased cholesterol levels have a direct impact on the heart and increase the chances of a heart attack. Replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats, which includes replacing butter, shortenings, lard, or palm oil with sunflower, corn, olive, soybean, or canola oil is a healthier switch that you can make to keep your heart and body healthy.
4. HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK OF DIABETES?
Increased cholesterol, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes are all factors and conditions that directly affect the heart and increase the chances of getting a heart attack. Following DASH or the Mediterranean Diet, consuming foods that are rich in Omega – 3 fatty acids and fiber, and avoiding artificial sweeteners can help in combating diabetes.
5. REGULAR EXERCISING:
In this regard, The New England Journal of Medicine confirms through their research that a moderate amount of exercising and walking reduces coronary events in women.
Keeping a check on your step counts on a daily basis, being physically active, walking, exercising, swimming, cycling, aerobics, and yoga, are a few physical activities that not only keep your heart healthy but also have a very good impact on your mental and physical vitality.
6. SAY NO TO SMOKING:
People who smoke have double the chances of getting a heart attack in comparison to non-smokers, and thrice the risk of death. Smoking reduces the oxygen level in the blood and increases blood pressure, ultimately putting extra pressure on the heart to supply enough oxygen to the brain and body. Smoking must necessarily be prohibited to reduce the risk of a heart attack.
7. STRESS MANAGEMENT:
Anxiety and stress not only affect mental health but also heart health. To cope up with anxiety and stress, one must indulge in fruitful activities such as working out, going for a walk, reading a good book, or meditating which helps in calming the mind and fighting anxiety.
8. QUALITY SLEEP:
A good night’s sleep is as essential as a balanced diet in maintaining overall health and fitness. 7 hours of sleep are an absolute must to avoid high blood pressure, obesity, heart attack, and depression.
As stated above, the ABCDES clearly defines how to go about a lifestyle change if you’re looking out to keep your heart healthy and fit. Apart from these, a few easy adaptations that can significantly contribute to ensuring a healthy lifestyle include:
- Reduce your screen time as much as you can to avoid mental and emotional anxiety.
- Take regular walks in nature to allow visual, emotional, and mental healing from the daily exhaustion of work and routine.
- Practice yoga and pranayama to calm your mind and heart.
- Switch to a healthy and vegetarian diet to allow your body to feel light and active. v. Keep yourself hydrated by increasing your daily water intake. vi. Soak in the sun to allow your body to relax and rejuvenate.
To conclude, it’s safe to say that a happy and healthy heart equals happy and healthy life. Taking care of yourself and your body is as important as establishing a successful career and achieving your goals. So make sure you take good care of your greatest possession while you climb the ladder to success.