Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

What to do to keep your heart healthy and fit

Deepannita Chakraborty | October 2, 2016 1:26 am Print
There are many do’s and don’ts to keep the heart healthy. Here we are listing out 7 things which you may have not known are good for the heart
Walking : Best exercise for heart

Maintaining a healthy heart these days is of utmost importance, in a world where time is money and dreams are goals. It is very important for us to be healthy and in top shape. The heart is the most important organ of our body and also the sole reason we tick. This is why keeping the little organ healthy becomes an important duty for us. There are many do’s and don’ts to keep the heart healthy. Here we are listing out 7 things which you may have not known are good for the heart.

Walking:

It is a known fact that brisk walking is the one of the best exercises that one can incorporate in their fitness regime. When we get out in the morning we notice a large group of people who take their early morning walks. Other than helping people remain fit walking is also very healthy for the heart, One must take it in our stride to ensure that walking becomes a lifestyle choice and not a chore. According to Shane Bilsborough a well-known ‎nutrition and exercise expert who is also the Co-Founder & Chief Wellness Officer, Stepathlon, remarks, “Walking is one of the best ways to stay fit. One must take an average of 10,000 steps every day, but most of us clock just 1,500 to 2,000 steps on regular days. At first, walking 10,000 steps may seem like an unrealistic goal but consider this – it takes 5,238 steps to walk off a slice of pizza! A lot of times people don’t realize that small changes can be made to ensure we complete the 10,000 step goal set for a healthy heart. Just spending 30 minutes on an activity such as walking every day can reduce our risk of heart disease by 44%.

Wine:

If you like to unwind with a glass of wine, then you are in the right company! According to Dr Kari Poikolainen, who used to work for the World Health Organization as an alcohol expert, examined decades of research into its effects. Drinking one or two glasses of red wine a day can actually help protect your heart and help prevent against cardiovascular disease. It contains resveratrol, which is a powerful antioxidant compound which protects your arteries and the heart against the effects of saturated fat. Cecilia Oldne, Vice President, Marketing and Global Brand Ambassador, Sula Vineyards, also shared some interesting insights about wine and its connection to the heart, “Research has for long suggested that there is a strong connection between wine and its benefits for the heart. This is because there are various substances in red wine that are proven to be heart-healthy like resveratrol that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, prevents blood clots and protects the heart from inflammation. There are also antioxidants in red wine like polyphenols that helps protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart and helps prevent heart diseases like atherosclerosis. Of course, everything in moderation – my father who is a doctor says a glass or two a day. Wine is known to put a smile on your face as well – and we all know that happiness results in a longer life too!

Cod Liver Oil:

For all the fish lovers out there, there’s some good news – The omega 3 content in cod liver oil could also be beneficial for your heart as they have beneficial effects on blood pressure, blood stickiness, and inflammation and are prescribed to lower abnormally high blood fat levels. They may also protect against certain abnormal heart rhythms, especially in heart muscle receiving a poor blood supply . An intake of at least 1g omega-3 fish oils per day (from eating oily fish twice a week, or from pharmaceutical grade supplements) has consistently been shown to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death by 40% to 45%. In India there might be a variety of brands which might be prevalent but Seven Seas from Merck Healthcare is one of the best. Not only because it is an FDA approved product, but also it comes from the highly reputable stable of products from the Merck Family

Hot Chillies:

Who thought that having red chillies could be beneficial for the heart? Though in a country like India spices are generally added to improve the flavor of the dish, they also have health benefits. According to Dr John Day who is a cardiologist and Medical director of heart rhythm services in the United States reiterated the Harvard study which found that people who consumed hot chillies are less susceptible to cancer and high blood pressure which in turn leads to less heart disease deaths. This is due to the ingredient capsaicin which lowers blood cholesterol levels and blocks a gene that makes arteries contract, which can lead to dangerous blockages of blood flow. Such blockages can cause heart attacks (when blood can’t reach the heart) or strokes (when blood can’t reach the brain). This finding was attributed to the paper written by Huang W and Cheang WS from the Chinese University of Honk Kong.

The Sun:

In a tropical country like India one would assume that the population would never suffer from Vitamin D Deficiency, but the reality is a different story. In a recent study carried out by PD Hinduja Hospital which is one of the top hospitals in Mumbai, it was seen that 77.5% of the male population and 72.68% of the female population was lacking adequate levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D has been known to be really good for the heart. In a recent study conducted by experts at Southampton and Edinburgh universities where the skin of 24 healthy young men to a sun lamp for 20 minutes and measured their blood pressure, Diastolic pressure – the lower of the two figures in a blood pressure reading – dropped significantly and remained low for at least half an hour after the lamp was switched off.

Martin Feelisch, professor of experimental medicine at Southampton University, said: ‘Every little change might help. ‘The findings could help explain why rates of heart disease go up in the winter – and why cardiac health is worse in countries further from the equator.

Martin also mentioned that it will be important to check that the benefits are not limited to a quick blast of UV light in a lab but persist in the real world where people are exposed to sunlight every day. If the sun’s rays do prove to be beneficial for the heart, the professor said health advice on tanning should be reviewed. He said that despite concern about skin cancer, heart disease is a far bigger killer. In Britain, skin cancer kills 2,800 people every year while heart disease and strokes claim more than 1,60,000 lives annually and every seven minutes someone in the UK dies from a heart attack. Professor Martin also said that fear of skin cancer has left some people scared of the sun.

Popcorn:
For all the movie goers out there, there is some good news. All that popcorn you guzzled over the weekend could have been doing you the power of good. It’s long been known that red wine contains antioxidants, widely known to help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of ‘good’ cholesterol and protecting against artery damage – and now it appears that the popcorn you eat does the same good too. Indeed, says a team from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, it has more of the beneficial poly-phenols than fruits and vegetables, largely because it contains so much less water. It’s the same reason that dried fruits hold more poly-phenols than fresh ones.
It’s the hulls of the popcorn – the bits that get stuck between your teeth – that appear to hold the most, says Dr Joe Vinson. “Those hulls deserve more respect,” he says. “They are nutritional gold nuggets.” Up to 300 mg of poly-phenols were found in a serving of popcorn, compared with 114 mg for a serving of sweet corn and 160 mg for all fruits. One serving of popcorn would provide 13 percent of an average intake of poly-phenols a day per person in the US. Naturally, it’s not a good idea to slather the popcorn in butter or oil. Air-popped is best, with oil doubling the number of calories. “Popcorn may be the perfect snack food. It’s the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain,” says Vinson. “All other grains are processed and diluted with other ingredients, and although cereals are called ‘whole grain’, this simply means that over 51 percent of the weight of the product is whole grain.”

Pets:
Cheers to all the pet lovers. This should be every pet lovers dream. Now a man’s best friend can also help in reducing the risk of heart diseases. “Over the last decade or so there have been periodic reports on the association between pet ownership and cardiovascular risk,” said Dr. Glenn N. Levine, a cardiologist with the Michael E. De Bakey Veterans Administration Medical Center in Houston and lead author of a new scientific statement by the AHA which looked at the influence of pets on heart health. Owning pets is associated with reducing your risk of heart disease, and there are a variety of reasons that may be at work that influence this relationship.

Dog owners especially can benefit from this as during the process of taking your dog for a walk or playing fetch they do not realize the physical activity they are putting their body through, that can definitely lead to a healthy body. Pets also play a pivotal role in providing social support to their owners, which is an important factor in helping you stick with a new habit or adopting a new healthy behaviour.

Deepannita Chakraborty
Deepannita Chakraborty
Human by nature, Indian by race, she likes documenting everything about lifestyle, entertainment and technology. Follow her on https://www.instagram.com/awalkwithaisha/ , and https://twitter.com/awalkwithaisha
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