In a unique effort by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, September has been declared as the National Nutrition Month for the country. Focusing on nutrition and health benefits, an important aspect of this initiative is to concentrate on efforts towards a healthy living.
As an addition to the focus on ample nourishment, September 29 is celebrated as World Heart Day every year. Here are a few lifestyle changes which one must follow to reduce the risk of heart diseases:
Get your numbers checked: 60 per cent of people fail to recognize the symptoms of diabetes and remain untreated, leading to increased risk of heart disease. So be aware and get your blood-sugar levels checked. Research shows that almonds, which are a source of protein and high in dietary fibre, can help in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and help lower the blood sugar impact of carbohydrate foods, which affect fasting insulin levels.
Switch to Superfood: A superfood is something that packs in maximum nutrition and provides several nutrients to the body at one time. Says nutritionist Avni Kaul, “Superfoods can give your diet a healthy boost, while reducing your risk of heart disease, memory loss, and other health problems. These foods pack a big nutritional punch. They are good sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients. For example, dark green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of nutrients including folate, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber.”
Additionally what makes them a superfood is their potential to reduce your risk of chronic illnesses including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. “They also contain high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds known as carotenoids, which may protect against certain types of cancer. Quinoa is another amazing superfood. It is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants,” adds Kaul.
Run to keep fit: With your doctor/physical trainer's approval, try and include exercise as a part of your daily routine and keep an active lifestyle. Madhuri Ruia, Founder - Integym said, "Moderate exercise of 30 minutes in a day for five days in a week, breaking a slight sweat is good for a healthy heart."
Figure out the differences: Ensure you consume the good fats in proportion and leave out saturated and trans fats from your diet. "Consuming 43 grams of dry-roasted, lightly salted almonds every day reduces hunger and improved dietary vitamin E and monounsaturated ("good") fat intake without increasing body weight," said nutritionist Meghana Kumare.
Curtail Sugar and Salt: According to FSSAI's (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) Eat Right Movement "Aj se thoda kam" recommends to reduce sugar, salt and oil in your diet as an effort towards healthy living. "Reduce your intake of sugar, salt and oil by half and you reduce your incidence to heart disease by half," said Ritika Samaddar of Max Super Specialty Hospital.
Quit Smoking: Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for a healthy heart. Sheela Krishnaswamy, diet, nutrition and wellness consultant, Bengaluru says, "Smoking can damage the structure and function of the arteries, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis. Carbon monoxide inhaled from the cigarette smoke contributes to reduced oxygen levels in the blood. Not just this, second-hand tobacco smoke also causes heart disease in non-smokers, which means you could be harming the health of your near ones too."
Try and be stress-free: Do yourself a big favor this World Heart Day and keep yourself stress-free. Try and spend as much time with your loved ones and indulge in activities that you enjoy. Meditation is a great stress reliever and so is exercising.