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World Heart Day 2018: 7 habits that will keep your heart healthy

September 29 marks World Heart Day. By making certain lifestyle changes, you can boost your heart health and keep cardiovascular disease (CVD) at bay.

fitness Updated: Sep 29, 2018 09:07 IST
Soma Das
Soma Das
Hindustan Times
World Heart Day,World Heart Day 2018,Health
Eat a Mediterranean diet for lowering the risk of stroke and heart disease. (Shutterstock)

World Heart Dayis celebrated every year on September 29, and aims to raise awareness about heart disease. Cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including heart attack and stroke, are a serious concern as they cause 17.5 million deaths each year. Interestingly, CVD is a preventable condition, and the tried-and-tested methods of eating a healthy diet and exercising can go a long way in protecting you from it.

These 7 habits will help you keep heart disease at bay:

* Eat right: You can opt for a Mediterranean diet which is believed to lower risk of stroke and protect you from potential heart problems. A study conducted by the University of East Anglia shows that the diet reduced the onset of stroke by 17% in all adults, with women seeing a greater reduction of 22%.In addition, you can also consume chia seeds which cut down cholesterol from the body and blueberries which reduce risk of heart disease.

* Exercise: Fitness enthusiasts can opt for a high-intensity exercise routine for protection from heart disease. It is backed by research, with a study conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter suggesting that engaging in high-intensity exercise in youth can lower blood pressure and risk of developing heart disease later in life.

Excess heart age (EHA) is lowest among adults who sleep seven hours over a 24-hour period. (Shutterstock)

* Get enough sleep: Catch those forty winks because they can keep your heart young and healthy. A study published in the journal Sleep shows that excess heart age (EHA) is lowest among adults who sleep seven hours over a 24-hour period. Stick to the seven-hour mandate though, because sleeping more or less than that can be counterproductive and increase your heart age.

* Maintain dental hygiene: Gum disease is linked to heart disease as it is caused by bacteria that can enter the bloodstream and damage blood vessels. It can also cause blood clots that eventually result in heart attacks. So, your best bet is to visit the dentist regularly and brush/floss twice a day.

Sodium is vital in maintaining your blood pressure but excess intake of it can raise blood pressure levels. (Shutterstock)

* Cut down on salt: Sodium is vital in maintaining your blood pressure but excess intake of salt can raise blood pressure levels. High blood pressure, in turn, can strain your heart and blood vessels. So, it’s best to avoid eating foods that are high in salt, be it frozen foods, canned or processed foods.

* Avoid passive smoking: While smoking increases risk of heart damage, exposure to secondhand smoking is not healthy either. Passive smoking can increase risk of strokes by 20-30% and cause strokes.

* Don’t sweat the small stuff: Type A people are prone to get stressed out, which can causes a spike in hormones, such as adrenalin and cortisol, that influence the heart rate and blood pressure. High levels of stress can also impact the way your blood clots. Instead, try to see the silver lining and laugh more which will release feel-good endorphins.

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First Published: Sep 29, 2018 09:05 IST