1) GET ACTIVE
A minimum of 30 minutes of any form of aerobic exercise 4 to 6 times a week helps keep the heart muscle strong & unclog arteries. Choose an activity that you enjoy such as walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, elliptical training, hi-low or step training. You know you’re working your heart if the activity makes you break out into a light sweat & leaves you ‘slightly’ out of breath.
2) CHEW ON IT
Include one serving of some raw fruit or vegetable with each meal. Fruits such as bananas, papaya, melons, guava , appleas well as vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber, raddish, carrot, bell peppers, salad leaves are not just a rich source of essential vitamins & minerals, they are also rich in insoluble fibre. Also include foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as dalia, unpolished rice, whole wheat pasta, multi grain bread, ragi, bajra & jowar in your diet. The fibre from these foods, which includes both soluble as well as insoluble fibre helps bind cholesterol & excrete it out of the body.
3) STRESS – PICK WISELY
Stress can be both physical as well as mental. Physical stress such as that caused due to physical work or exercise may not cause damage to the heart unless extreme. However, emotional stress, especially chronic can cause heart disease. Yoga, meditation & tai chi are some of the alternative methods that one can adapt to help one deal with the negative effects of stress. And of course nothing works better than a change in attitude.
4) THE IDEAL OIL
While high amounts of saturated fats & Trans fats are a complete no no as far as heart health goes, including up to 3 teaspoons of mono & poly unsaturated fats help lower the level of LDL (bad cholesterol) & raise the level of HDL (good cholesterol). Switch to sunflower, safflower, flax seed, Olive or canola oil in place of butter, palm oil & coconut oil. Additionally amongst various oils researched it has been found that Olive oil , due to its high content of mono unsaturated fatty acids & poly phenols result in a better HDL:LDL ratio.
5) KICK THE BUTT
It may provide momentary pleasure but the toxins in cigarette smoke cause plaques to form in the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Smoking-related coronary heart disease may in the long run contribute to congestive heart failure. So switch to low – nicotine cigarettes or still better, simply kick the butt.