Heart diseases are preventable: Just make smart choices

  • Kavita Devgan, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Sep 30, 2014 14:50 IST

Why does heart disease get written about so much? Because it kills in huge numbers and is so easily prevented. By now, you probably know what you need to do: lower cholesterol, cut stress, quit smoking and get active. But new research is being done every day, making it easier and easier to make smart heart choices. And we’ve made it easier still – just follow the numbers!

1http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/9/2809brimg_40.jpgThe number of hugs you need a day for a dose of oxytocin, the hormone that helps reduce stress. Studies published in January 2013 by the researchers of Centre for Brain Research at the Medical University of Vienna say hugs lower blood pressure. Plus, they’re free and you can happily overdose!

The cost in rupees of a garlic pod, your armour against heart disease. It contains allicin, which helps reduce atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and fat deposits, decreases blood pressure, and is also anti-thrombotic and anti-inflammatory.

1.1 The number, in billions, of smokers worldwide, who are at risk of heart attack, thanks to their low levels of Vitamin C. “Vitamin C helps keep fatty deposits inside the arteries from rupturing and causing angina or a heart attack,” says Dr Simmi Manocha, senior consultant cardiologist at the Asian Institute of Medical Sciences.

Vitamin C needs to be a part of our daily intake – eat oranges, lemons, pineapples, broccolis, green peppers and amla. And stop smoking.


http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/9/2809brimg_41.jpg2That’s how many times higher your risk of cardiovascular diseases increases if you face a lot of stress at work, according to a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine in March 2013. Stress leads to depression and sleep disturbances, all linked to heart problems.

“Meditate daily for 10-15 minutes so blood pressure drops and heart rate slows down,” says Dr Nilesh Gautam, senior interventional cardiologist and head of cardiac rehabilitation at the Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai.

Also read:How I survived a sudden heart attack

The minimum number of servings of instant noodles in a week to put you at risk for Cardiometabolic Syndrome (a mix of cardiovascular, renal, metabolic and inflammatory abnormalities). This increases your chances of getting heart disease, say cardiology experts at Harvard School of Public Health.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/9/2809brimg_43.jpgThe number of food groups that protect you from hypertension. Unsaturated fats (olive oil) and nitrite-rich vegetables (lettuce) when combined form nitro fatty acids, which relax blood vessels.

The number of diet drinks (diet soda, fruit drinks) a day that increase the risk of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems by 30 per cent in post-menopausal women, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session. Don’t mess with your heart in a bid to lose weight.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/9/2809brimg_45.jpg3The number of times your risk of a heart attack increases in an hour of being stuck in heavy traffic, according to a German study. Use a carpool or find an alternative route (or even a different job). The risk goes up 12 per cent due to the noise pollution, according to Danish researchers.

The number of times you should begin your day with strawberries in a week. They are rich in flavonoids which lower blood pressure and make the blood vessels more elastic, says a study published in Harvard Health Publications.

4 The number of people between the ages of 30 and 50 who die of a heart attack every minute in India. “In fact, 30 per cent of acute heart attack patients are less than 40 years of age,” says Rajeeve Kumar Rajput, senior interventional and consultant cardiologist at Apollo Hospitals, Delhi.


The number of babies a woman can have after which she starts being at risk of developing plaque in her heart, according to research done by the American http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/9/2809brimg_48.jpgCollege of Cardiology. Research also says that women who had no or one child, could get subclinical atherosclerosis (a inflammatory disease). Maybe two kids are best.

5 The number of hours sitting every day that can up the risk of heart failure by 34 per cent, even if you get regular exercise, according to a study published in January in the journal Circulation. The risk more than doubles in those who sit for at least five hours a day and don’t exercise. “Get up every half an hour,” says Dr Rajput.

10The percentage of those who have a heart attack, who may also have undiagnosed diabetes, according to research presented by American Heart Association in June this year. “The risk of death due to a heart attack is three times higher in diabetics as compared with non-diabetics. Life expectancy too is reduced by 30 per cent in diabetics,” says Dr Rajput. Get your blood sugar levels tested now.

Also read: How sweet is too sweet?

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/9/2809brimg_49.jpgThe percentage of coronary disease deaths due to elevated levels of homocysteine (an amino acid which is produced during the digestion of protein in the body). Homocysteine needs Vitamin B and C to do its job. Fruits and vegetables are important to keep its levels low.

The numbers of hours you sleep a day that ups your risk of heart disease. Ideally, aim for seven to nine hours of sleep.


The number of months in which a new mom should lose weight, if she wants to lower her risk of developing heart disease. According to a study done at the University of Toronto, holding on to the post-pregnancy weight is risky.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/9/2809brimg_50.jpg15 The daily mg dose of Vitamin E, an antioxidant essential to prevent hardening of your arteries, you need. Fifteen gm of sunflower seeds + 15gm almonds + 1.5 cup spinach + 15gm peanuts + 1 egg is good. Also try poached egg over spinach, made in olive oil, which ensures three excellent sources of Vitamin E.The daily mg dose of Vitamin E, an antioxidant essential to prevent hardening of your arteries, you need. Fifteen gm of sunflower seeds + 15gm almonds + 1.5 cup spinach + 15gm peanuts + 1 egg is good. Also try poached egg over spinach, made in olive oil, which ensures three excellent sources of Vitamin E.

20 The percentage of sale of brown rice from within the sale of rice in India as per a 2012 report. The health benefits of brown rice, thanks to its high fibre content, have shown to reduce high cholesterol levels. Brown rice also reduces blood sugar levels and is thus an excellent grain choice for people with diabetes. It’s rich in selenium, which reduces risk of heart disease.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/9/2809brimg_56.jpg 30

The cost in rupees of a humble toothbrush, that can help you fight heart disease. A University of Florida study shows that the same bacteria that cause gum disease also promote heart disease. So make sure you brush every night as well.

The number of days after a loved one’s death that are crucial for one’s heart’s health, according to the researchers from the University of St George’s, London. The risk for heart attacks doubles in this period. Grief leads to physical stress and also may make people forget taking their medication, write the researchers.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/9/2809brimg_55.jpg40The percentage by which your risk of developing high blood pressure lowers when you increase your protein intake, say researchers from Boston University School of Medicine in a study published in American Journal of Hypertension in July 2014. Eat seafood, milk, cheese, yoghurt, beans and soy.

The amount, in grams, of almonds, that can increase the amount of antioxidants in the blood stream, reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow if eaten daily. Professor Helen Griffiths, executive dean of the School of Life and Health Sciences at Aston University in Birmingham, UK, says so.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/9/2809brimg_54.jpg60The number of minutes of moderate exercise every day that will lower your risk of heart failure by 46 per cent, according to the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure.

96The percentage of energy drinks that contain caffeine. In addition, 52 per cent of drinks contain taurine, and 33 per cent have glucuronolactone (both stimulants). Having too many of these drinks can lead to angina, cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), according to French scientists.

4000The amount of milligrams of salt a day that we consumed in 2010, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association in 2013. This is twice the amount recommended by the World Health Organization. “Read labels (to spot hidden sodium) and use salt sparingly. In tropical countries like India, 6gm of salt is adequate,” says Dr KK Talwar, Chairman, Cardiology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi.

From HT Brunch, September 28
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