A healthy heart

A Healthy Heart
A Healthy Heart

The human heart is a vital organ of the which is roughly the size of a large fist, weighing approximately 300 grams. The human heart is divided into four chambers, two upper chambers (the atria) and two lower ones (the ventricles). The right atrium and right ventricle together make up the right heart, while the left atrium and left ventricle make up the left heart. The two sides of the heart are separated by a wall of muscle called the septum. The heart is a crucial organ for the survival of a human being as it provides the cells with required oxygen via the blood it pumps. The blood is circulated from the heart to the lungs and around the body via blood vessels through the cardiovascular system. It’s of the essence to consume a healthy and a well-balanced diet in order to keep the system fully functional and disease-free. In accordance to a recent study one in four deaths is caused by a heart-related problem such as vessel diseases like the coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); and heart defects which one is born with (congenital heart defects) to name a few. Heart diseases can be prevented or treated by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Appropriate choices including a well-balanced diet, planned activity and fitness, minimal or no use of tobacco are central to maintain a healthy heart. Age is no bar to start with a productive lifestyle to help prevent heart diseases or stroke. Take charge of your life to move towards a disease-free heart by bringing in the changes mentioned below:

A healthy diet

To maintain a healthy lifestyle, wholesome and nutritious diet is of the essence. It is crucial to keep a check on your weight to minimize the risk of chronic heart diseases combined with regular workout. The overall process of the body including digestion, sleep, cell regeneration, inflammation or allergies is highly affected by the type of food you consume. An adequate amount of food is essential to provide the body with the right amount of nutrients required for the survival and proper functioning. Proteins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats are the components found in our food, which not only play particular roles to function the body but also offer calories to charge up the body and render energy. To maintain a healthy heart and body we need to consume a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables available in the market, as every colour has a specific nutritional value.   

Say no to stress-

The longer you are under stress, higher is the levels of cortisol, which further results in higher triglycerides, shooting up your blood cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels. The aforementioned are the probable factors which could lead to serious heart diseases. Stress can also act up as a reason for the escalation of plaque deposits within the arteries. The addition of plaque further thickens the blood vessels which in turn troubles you with severe heart issues. It circumscribes the flow of blood to the heart by choking the arteries. Due to the restricted delivery of blood, the heart is barricaded of the important nutrients and oxygen, required for it to function. The decreased amount of blood reaching the heart can also cause shooting pain in the chest termed as angina. If only a certain portion of the heart receives blood or if the heart is demanding more blood than the supply, it can cause a Heart Attack. So, say no to stress and lead a healthy life for a healthy heart.

A good sleep-

A fair schedule and sound sleep is a must for a good and healthy heart. Those who invest less number of hours in sleeping are at a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases and coronary heart problems irrespective of their smoking, eating habits, age, weight or physical workout routine. Maintaining a healthy diet along with a mix of regular exercise is not just enough to maintain a healthy heart, proper rest and sleep are mandatory too. The better you sleep the fitter your heart will be. To minimize your heart ailments, it is strictly advised to have a right sleep schedule. A study conducted by the University of Chicago in 2008 pointed out a direct association between higher coronary artery calcification and fewer hours of sleep, which can further lead to severe heart issues and diseases. So, try and develop a good and sound sleeping pattern with no screens facing the bed. On the contrary, indulge in relaxing activities like a hot shower or a walk before you are done for the day. You can also try and luxuriate yourself with a hot cup of chamomile tea before bed, as it is studied to be as useful as meditating or praying. Good Sleep for a Good Heart!

Maximize good cholesterol for healthy heart-

HDL also termed as good cholesterol is known to lower the symptoms of heart ailments and stroke, thus making a high level of good cholesterol crucial for your heart. It does so by exporting excess cholesterol to the liver to be ejected from your body. There are certain ways through which one can boost the levels of HDL within the body like regular intake of Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish and flax seeds. Heart friendly fats are also found in nuts, including Brazil nuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts and avocados to name a few. Make sure to include these good fats for maintaining the adequate levels of HDL. IN THE END, JUST AVOID SMOKING AND LIMIT YOUR DRINKING.

Include Exercise-

Exercise is vital for the body as it strengthens the muscles and helps the heart work efficiently. This basically explains that the heart pushes out more blood with each beat, therefore allowing it to beat slower and keeping your blood pressure under control. Exercise aids in lowering the blood pressure, acting like a beta-blocker medication used to bring down the heart rate and blood pressure. High blood pressure is known to be a major risk factor for heart diseases. A mix of cardio workouts and strength training is advised for maintaining heart health. This workout combination of exercises improves the muscles’ ability to draw adequate oxygen from the circulating blood. Therefore, it trims the need for the heart to work harder to pump more blood to the muscles. Make sure to schedule a workout for a minimum of 45 minutes.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelloPost.)

Contributed by Manisha Chopra – Nutritionist, Dietician and Fitness Expert