Did you know that even as you sleep, your heart works harder than your legs do when you go for a run! So it’s about time we pay heed to the needs of the most important organ in your body, especially since all it asks for is a few healthy habits. This world heart day we share 6 things that are must-dos to keep your heart happy.
5 veggies and fruits rule
Several studies have suggested including atleast 5 different types of fresh veggies or fruits in your everyday diet is an ideal way to keep heart disease at bay and we couldn’t agree more. In fact go one step ahead and paint your plate with a variety of colours – darker hued veggies and fruits are more beneficial for heart health because they have a higher concentration of heart healthy polyphenols and antioxidants. Including more veggies and fruits in your diet will only do you good.
Read food labels
A lot of processed foods aren’t really what they claim to be at the first glance, so make sure you read the food labels carefully. The problem with them is not just about what has been added but what has been taken away to make them ‘fat /cholesterol/sugar free’. When fat is removed from food, it becomes tasteless and is then loaded with artificial sweeteners and preservatives, making them even worse than their regular counterparts. Look for words like trans fats and preservatives – and stay as far away from them as you can.
Apart from being high in protein oily fish like salmon and mackerel are rich in heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish per week. However, to avail of the benefits of omega 3 cook wisely, avoid frying. Bake, grill, steam or prepare a delicious curry instead.
For over two decades, walnuts have been shown to improve cardiovascular risk factors by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol by 9-16% and diastolic blood pressure by 2-3 mmHg. These two risk factors are major contributors to heart disease risk. So snack on them just like that or sprinkle them over salads, soups and sabzis for a healthy treat your heart will love.
We have already established having a healthy heart is all about making wise lifestyle choices. While we aren’t asking you to completely give up some of the little joys in life, we urge you to choose wisely. Sip on green tea instead of chai or coffee and go for red wine instead of whiskey. Also, stop smoking. The next time you have the urge to pull a few puffs to ‘de-stress’ take a few deep breaths or slowly sip on a cup of warm green tea instead.
Regular exercise is the first step towards a healthy heart – it helps lose weight, improve blood circulation and manage blood pressure – the main causes that lead to heart diseases. Exercise also helps release endorphins in the system which uplifts your mood – so your heart is not just healthier, but happier too. So ditch that television marathon and give your couch potato status a break - go out for a run instead – you will instantly feel better.
Take a look at these recipes which are great for your heart health.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.