Heart health is something we all care about, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information out there. We often worry about our risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide.
Even the statistics says so.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally. An estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs in 2019, representing 32% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85% were due to heart attack and stroke.
Weight management, high blood pressure, and cholesterol levels are concerns many of us share.
Plus, the stress of our modern lives can take a toll on our hearts, and we often struggle with finding ways to relax and reduce that stress.
So, if you’ve ever felt the weight of these concerns or wondered how to navigate the path to better heart health, you’re not alone. This is exactly where a cardiologist nutritionist can help. They provide personalized dietary guidance to individuals with cardiovascular issues. They assess patients’ nutritional needs, develop heart-healthy meal plans, educate on portion control, and monitor progress, aiming to reduce risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol, ultimately enhancing cardiac well-being.
So, what does a strong heart mean to you?
Is it about running a marathon or simply being able to climb a flight of stairs without getting winded?
No matter whatever it is, there are some foolproof ways to keep your heart strong.
Tips to Build a Healthy Heart
A strong and healthy heart is essential for overall well-being. It’s the powerhouse of your circulatory system, pumping oxygen-rich blood throughout your body and ensuring that all your vital organs receive the nutrients they need to function optimally.
Adopt a Heart-Healthy Diet
The foundation of a strong heart lies in your diet. To promote cardiovascular health, focus on:
Fruits and Vegetables: Consume a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients help protect your heart from damage caused by free radicals.
Whole Grains: Opt for whole grains as they provide essential fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Healthy Fats: Incorporate sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish (such as salmon and mackerel). Omega-3 fatty acids found in these foods can help reduce inflammation and support heart health.
Limit Salt and Sugar: Reduce your intake of high-sodium and sugary foods. Excessive salt can elevate blood pressure, while added sugars contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease.
Regular Physical Activity
Exercise is a powerful tool for strengthening your heart. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. This can include activities such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling. Exercise helps:
Lower Blood Pressure: Regular physical activity can help reduce high blood pressure, a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Improve Cholesterol Levels: Exercise increases “good” HDL cholesterol and lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol, promoting better heart health.
Manage Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for heart health, and exercise plays a pivotal role in achieving and sustaining it.
Schedule an Appointment with a Clinical Dietitian
A clinical dietitian or a cardiologist nutritionist can assess your current dietary habits, provide personalized recommendations to reduce risk factors like high cholesterol or blood pressure, and create a sustainable meal plan.
This proactive approach can significantly contribute to a healthier heart, reducing the risk of heart diseases and enhancing overall well-being.
Chronic stress can take a toll on your heart. High stress levels can contribute to hypertension and increase the risk of heart disease. A 2021 study found that high stress was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke, even after adjusting for other risk factors such as age, sex, education, smoking, physical activity, and diet. (source)
To manage stress effectively:
Practice Relaxation Techniques: Try meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga to calm your mind and reduce stress.
Stay Connected: Maintain a strong support system by nurturing relationships with friends and loved ones. Social connections can provide emotional support during challenging times.
Time Management: Organize your daily activities to reduce stressors. Prioritize tasks and learn to say no when necessary.
Get Quality Sleep
Adequate sleep is vital for heart health. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
Poor sleep can lead to:
Increased Blood Pressure: Lack of sleep can elevate blood pressure, putting additional strain on your heart.
Weight Gain: Sleep deprivation can disrupt hormones that regulate appetite, leading to overeating and weight gain.
Inflammation: Chronic sleep deprivation can increase inflammation in the body, which is linked to heart disease.
Avoid Smoking and Limit Alcohol
If you smoke, quitting is one of the most significant steps you can take to strengthen your heart. Smoking damages blood vessels, raises blood pressure, and increases the risk of blood clots. Additionally, limit alcohol consumption, as excessive drinking can lead to heart problems.
A strong heart is essential for a long and healthy life. By adopting a heart-healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, managing stress, getting quality sleep, and making lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking and moderating alcohol intake, you can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and promote overall cardiovascular health.
Apart from this, if you personalized guidance for your heart health, please get in touch with a cardiologist nutritionist so you both can work together to improve your overall health. Get in touch with the dietitians of Food and Wellness as they cater to various clients in Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and also in Dubai and Singapore. They also have diabetes nutritionist for consultation. So, schedule your appointment today!