Preventing Heart Disease

Heart attacks are the number one killer globally. And 80 per cent of them can be prevented. Physical inactivity, high-stress levels, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high inflammation and high cholesterol play a greater role than genetics in many young patients with heart disease, according to new research. So if you do have a genetic predisposition, that is only the backdrop. You can change your lifestyle and prevent your risk of getting heart disease or a sudden heart attack by 80 per cent by just following the steps below.

*Switch to healthy fats. While ditching fats completely is what you think will work for you, that is incorrect. Ditch saturated fats like butter, ghee, coconut oil, coconut Chutney, and coconut milk. Replace them with unsaturated fats which are good for your heart and release bad cholesterol and deposits. These include extra-virgin olive oil, fish oil and flaxseed oil. Every research has shown that these unsaturated cold-pressed fats reduce triglycerides and high cholesterol, which means they reduce the bad lipids in your body. They also make your arteries softer. Hardened arteries, medically known as atherosclerosis, are the reason for high blood pressure. And high BP is a risk factor for heart disease and kidney issues. Just reducing cooked fat and saturated fat is not enough. Replacing it with uncooked unsaturated oils helps the heart get healthier. You can incorporate them by having oily fish like tuna, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, salmon, herring, and trout three times a week; make sure you add a bowl of fresh salad and put two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil on the salad with lunch and dinner; take flaxseed oil supplements or a tablespoon of cold pressed flaxseed oil in your food for better heart health.

*Get walking. The power of walking is extremely underrated. Multiple studies have shown that just 30 minutes of walking daily, four days a week, dissolves lipids, and reduces the risk of hypertension and type two diabetes. And in case you have these conditions, this regular walking starts slowly reducing your BP and sugar levels and makes your heart healthier. However, short spurts of walking do not do the same. The consistent space of 30 minutes walking is what achieves gradual dissolution of bad lipids, sugar levels and high blood pressure from the body. Walking is also a therapeutic activity, and reduces stress levels, thereby ensuring overall well-being. Combine your walks with some enjoyable music so that the mind-body intervention of music therapy along with moderate-paced walking releases stress levels rapidly.

*Get preventive. Preventive heart health check-ups are the easiest way to determine your risk factors. Get a check-up scheduled for your cholesterol, diabetes, liver, kidneys, uric acid, homocysteine count, inflammation markers like C-reactive protein and vitamin D and B12 levels. All of these determine whether you will get heart disease in the future or not.

The heart is at the centre of our well-being. There is increasing evidence that the syndrome of a broken heart converting to heart issues is real. Financial loss, grief, and lack of self-worth are some of the emotional areas that the heart is physically connected to. In case you face any of these issues, do the above and also seek the help of a counsellor to release your stress or loss. Ultimately, a healthy heart will mean a longer life for you. You can always rebuild your present and future if you have your heart in the right place.

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