Keeping your heart healthy and happy
It is often said, “Your life will keep on beating until your healthy heart keeps on beating.” It is true, if you have a healthy heart, you can enjoy a happy and a long life. Over an average lifespan of an individual, the heart beats about 2.5 billion times over, supplying gallons of blood to every organ. The right side of the heart sends blood to the lungs where it fills up with oxygen. The left side pumps this oxygen-filled blood through the arteries to nourish bodily organs and remove excess waste. So, it becomes all the more important to take care of the most essential organ of a human body - the heart. After all, it works hard - without breaks - to keep you alive, so you should do your part and return the favour.
“Heart is the most important organ of our body as it is critical for supplying blood to the rest of the body and the brain. That makes taking care of the heart most important,” says Dr Abhishek Singh, Cardiologist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad.
A healthy heart is always essential, especially during the current pandemic as Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai, puts it, “The heart is the motor pump of the body. Heart health is maintaining this pump in optimal working condition to provide nutrition and oxygen to the body tissues. The pandemic affected our hearts in a major way; an active lifestyle, the one we knew took a backseat and more and more people choose a sedentary lifestyle.”
Lavleen Kaur, dietician and co-founder, Diet Insight echoes the same sentiment, “The world came to a halt but our heart could not because if it did, we wouldn’t have survived. Our heart deserves utmost care. We often fail to realise its importance until we are faced with serious symptoms like breathlessness, chest pain or numbness in the body. We are aware that by leading a sedentary lifestyle, we invite lifestyle diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, and when both of these are prolonged, leads to heart diseases.”
The early symptoms of a heart disease include dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, cold sweats, confusion, headaches or lightheadedness. If you ever experience such discomfort, experts suggest visiting a doctor as these could be warning signs of heart disease.
A diet high in fat, sugar, and salt, high blood cholesterol levels, physical inactivity and uncontrolled stress and anger increases the risk of a heart disease. “High blood pressure contributes to an ever-increasing burden on the heart leading to heart failure with premature mortality and disability,” says Dr. Balbir Singh, Chairman - Cardiac Sciences, Max Hospital, Saket.
Don’t worry, keeping your heart healthy is something you can work on every day. What you eat, how much you move, whether you smoke and controlling your cholesterol and blood pressure are things that can have a big impact on your heart. Although some heart problems are hereditary, many are caused due to poor healthcare. A healthy lifestyle will improve the heart’s health enabling you to enjoy your life to the fullest. It’s never too late to adopt healthy habits that can enhance your quality of life.
A healthy diet
“Three healthy meals during the day are important. They should include more serving of fresh fruits like apples, pear, and vegetables. Include soaked almonds, ginger and garlic in the diet. Also, heart friendly spices like black pepper and antioxidant turmeric are good,” says Dr. Sailee Modi, the Ayurveda consultant, Vedicure healthcare and wellness. Including herbs like ‘Arjuna’ (cardiac tonic) in your dietary lifestyle would nourish the heart and Guggul will help lower cholesterol.
Staying physically active
“Walking is an excellent exercise and a therapy too. Early morning brisk walk of 30-45mins is excellent for the heart,” says Dr. Sailee Modi, the Ayurveda consultant, Vedicure healthcare and wellness. She recommends regular moderate exercise like cycling, swimming, jumping rope, and heart-pumping aerobics as well. She says, “Pranayam for elderly persons is beneficial too.”
Spending time in nature
Supriya Patil, Grow-Trees Environmental expert, feels apart from the hundreds of benefits trees provide to mankind, their effect on our health and wellness is the most prominent. She says, “Trees supply us with oxygen by sequestering large amounts of atmospheric carbon during the process of photosynthesis. Mature trees are known to trap airborne pollutants, thereby saving us from the ghastly effects of pollution and keeping our lungs healthy. That is why a walk in the garden or the woods is known to reduce stress, blood pressure, cortisol levels, and pulse rates.”
“Take your medications on time if you are suffering from diabetes and hypertension, or high cholesterol. Go for a regular health check-up with your family doctor,” adds Dr Bhamre. And lastly don’t stress as the biochemical responses to stress, leads to a rise in blood pressure and a faster heart rate. If you don’t manage your stress, it can create more stress and trap you in a stress cycle leading to complications.