Heart attack or stroke is the number 1 cause of death globally, according to Geneva-based NGO World Heart Federation (WHF).
In India, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), are responsible for over 60% of total adult deaths,
Worldwide 17.3 million people die annually of CVDs and the figure is estimated to go up to 23 million by 2030.
Every year, since its inception in 2000, on Sept 29, WHF observes World Heart Day to raise awareness about heart diseases.
The theme for World Heart Day 2016 is “creating heart healthy environments”.
We, at BigWire, bring you 10 simple tips to keep your heart in good shape:
1. Sleep for 7 hours at night. A recent study has shown that sleeping for 7 hours (neither 5 hours nor 9 hours) at night saves young as well as middle-aged people from calcium deposits in their arteries, which is an early sign of CVD.
2. Stop smoking now. Only then, after 12 years, you will halve the risk of dying of CVD compared to a continuous smoker.
3. Have more wholegrain cereals, legumes, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts as a part of your regular diet to lower the risk of heart disease.
4. Researchers have found that a brisk 30-minute walk every day, cuts the risk of heart attack by one-third.
5. Eat more fish as the Omega-3 fatty acids take care of your good cholesterol, thus keeping your heart happy and healthy.
6. Cut down salt intake. High blood pressure is one of the primary causes of heart diseases. Lowering salt intake and avoiding high sodium foods will make your heart healthier.
7. Check your blood sugar levels regularly. Unregulated diabetes damage the artery walls of your heart and make it vulnerable to CVDs.
8. Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol is often projected as a drink that keeps your overall heart in good condition. But too much of the drink can lead to weight gain due to high-calorie intake and thus damage the heart.
Research says a man should limit himself to two drinks while a woman must not take more than one drink a day.
9. Eat dark chocolate regularly, in moderation. It has been found that dark chocolate decreases oxidized LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduces risk of CVDs in long term.
10. Avoid stress. Studies have found that chronic stress changes the way blood clots, as well as increases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, thereby increasing the risk of heart attacks.
(Sources: The Heart Foundation, WebMD, The National Health Service, State Government Victoria Better Health Channel)
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.