India has a chronic heart health issue. In 2016, it was estimated that 54.5 million Indians had some kind of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In 2018, one in every four deaths in India was attributed to a CVD. Of these CVD deaths, over 80% were caused by strokes and ischemic heart disease. Heart disease is an issue that must be dealt with quickly as the consequences can be quite catastrophic. The current pandemic has only made matters worse. According to a paper published by Zhou et al in the Lancet Journal in March 2020, cardiovascular conditions can increase the mortality rate in patients with COVID-19. The paper also suggests that COVID-19 could increase CVD complications. With everything that’s going on, we thought we’d take a minute to discuss how you can keep your heart healthy on World Heart Day. Here’s a look at a few things you can do to maintain a healthy heart:
1. Stay Home, Stay Active
As far as possible, it’s best to stay safe at home. But, that doesn’t mean you should stop your exercise. You can complete simple yoga routines and do exercises such as lunges, leg raises and more from the comfort of your bedroom. There are also several home walking routines you can follow to give your heart a good workout. If you’re still working from home, consider standing while you work or taking short, walking breaks through the day. These small adjustments to your routine can help keep your ticker healthy.
2. Pick Whole Grains
Packed with fibre and a range of nutrients, whole grains can help regulate blood pressure and boost your heart health. Try and switch refined flours in your daily diet to whole-wheat flours. This small change can make a big difference to your heart. Whole grains like brown rice, barley and buckwheat also make for great additions to your everyday diet.
3. Think About Portion Control
Being healthy doesn’t mean you have to completely give up enjoying treats that you love. But, you do have to watch how much you eat. Instead of using a dinner plate, use a quarter plate to serve yourself meals. This will automatically prevent you from eating more than you require. Make sure you eat more nutrient-rich foods than high-calorie foods. This won’t just help your heart, it will also help your waistline. Make sure you don’t deny yourself sweets, but try and limit your intake to once a week or so.
4. Stop Stressing
People who lead high-stress lives are more likely to suffer from heart diseases. So, if you’re committed to keeping your heart healthy, you need to find a way to de-stress and relax. If work is too difficult to manage, speak to your superiors about the trouble you’re facing. Instead of letting things fester, it’s better to talk about it and get it off your chest. You can also practice 15 minutes of meditation every day. During that time, try to focus on the positive things in your life. You can also set aside a little time every day or week to catch up with family members and friends. Talking to them can help alleviate your stress, which will help your heart in the long run.
5. Consult Your Doctor
If you think you’re at risk of developing heart disease, it’s a good idea to reach out to your doctor. Several doctors are offering online consultations, so you don’t have to risk leaving your house. If you’ve had heart trouble in the past, or if heart issues run in your family, you may need to have regular check-ups. This way, your doctor can keep a check on your heart and will be able to give you advice on corrective measures you should take before things get out of hand.