Healthy Chunks Are The Real Guards Of Heart

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One in every four middle-aged people of Pakistan is a victim of heart problem. Many valuable lives are lost silently or after experiencing various painful years owing to this potent human killer. One major factor that can save you and your loved ones from heart diseases is healthy food, besides opting healthy lifestyle. We often hear that ‘individual is what he eats’. It is true as healthy, balanced and nutritious food not only keeps you fit but also safeguards you from deadly diseases like heart disease.

What Are The Main Causes Of Heart Diseases?

Heart disease occurs due to narrowing of blood arteries that works to supply blood to the heart. Deposits of fats also called plaque that comes from your food gradually pile up on the inner walls of arteries and reduces their inner space causing obstruction in blood flow. This Plaque build-up is categorized as stable (excited at one place) or unstable (moving with blood). Excessive existence of stable plaque sometimes causes pain and discomfort as it does not allow enough blood to reach the heart. Such condition is termed as angina. On other hand, unstable plaque gives rise to the blood clot that actually blocks the artery. This situation blocks the flow of blood towards the heart, cuts off its mandatory oxygen supply and partially damages or totally kills the heart cells. This situation leads to a heart attack.

What Can Be Done If One Is Suffering From Heart Issues?

In this regard avoiding fatty foods is the foremost thing to curb heart disease. According to a published study of Medical College of Georgia increased concentrations of total cholesterol or LDL (low-density lipids) in blood directly enhances the risk of heart disease, whereas elevated levels of HDL (high density lipids) decreases the risk of heart problems. Researchers also proposed that high concentration of circulating triacylglycerol is an independent risk factor for heart issue. Thus, the nature as well as the composition of the diet links not only with the levels of circulating lipids and lipoproteins but also to Cardio vascular disease incidence.

Are Fats Good For Heart Health?

Saturated fats also termed as ‘bad fats’ actually tend to enhance LDL level in the blood. Common food sources of these saturated fats are animal products like butter, coconut oil, meat including, beef, lamb, chicken and animal sources oils as well as processed foods like bakery items including pastries and biscuits. Full fat dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt also contains sufficient amount of saturated fat.

According to the recommendations of The Heart Foundation unflavored milk, yogurt and cheese can be consumed by the general population without the risk of heart disease but persons who are required to decrease their LDL level or are obese, needs to reduce consumption of this fat version. On similar patterns of saturated fats, trans fats also elevates LDL (bad) cholesterol level of the blood and more pathetically it also tend to decrease the HDL (good) cholesterol concentration. So, trans fats that are present in hydrogenated vegetable oils (ghee or margins) are more damaging for health and surely increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Best solution to control or decrease your risk of heart disease is to replace saturated and trans fats of your diet with the unsaturated versions. You can substitute butter, ghee, margarine, coconut and palm oil with oils that are made from seeds or plants like olive, sunflower, canola, safflower, soybean or sesame.

Another food ingredient that increases the risk of heart disease prevalence is salt. High intake of salt or diets with high salt concentration is directly linked to hypertension commonly known as high blood pressure, which can enhance the risk of heart disease as well as stroke. According to a scientific study most of us intake more than ten times the quantity of salt that we actually need to meet salt requirements. Amazingly, most of the salt in our diet does not come from added salt present at the table, but from packaged and processed foods. Even some sweet foods and many foods that even don’t taste ‘salty’ can contain much more sodium than anyone can expect. A simple and sure mean to cut down sodium intake is to minimize the amount of processed foods, limit fast food and utilization of herbs and spices for taste in food.

Beside reducing intake of heart damaging food, eating safe and protecting foods is beneficial to for your heart health and can reduce the risk heart disease and other elevated complications. In this regard The Heart Foundation recommends that everyone needs to intake following foods to guard their heart health:

  • Enough fresh vegetables, fruits and wholegrains
  • Healthy protein food especially fish and seafood, legumes like beans and lentils, nuts and seeds.
  • Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart-healthy diet
  • red meat, if necessary to take, must be lean and limited to 1-3 times a week
  • Unflavored milk, yogurt and cheese. But those having high blood cholesterol should avoid it
  • Healthy fat choices like nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for the purpose of cooking
  • Herbs and spices to increase taste of foods, rather than adding salt

In addition, one must be mindful to the quantity that one is eating. Portion sizes usually increases over time and many of us are truly eating more than our actual needs. This habit can lead to obesity and elevate our risk of cardiovascular disease.
In unfortunate case of heart disease or heart attack role of food become more prominent. A person having heart problem needs to strictly avoid trans fats and saturated fatty acids. Fast foods, packaged and fried foods, processed and frozen foods, bakery items and salty foods must be avoided at any cost. Saturated fat should not make up more than 6 percent of total daily caloric intake of a heart patient.

What Diet Is Preferred For Heart Patients?

Serving the right kind of carbohydrate is also important to improve the heart health of the patients.
Their food must include:

  • Brown Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet Potatoes

Similarly, after having a heart issue one must shift his intake towards plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish, nuts, beans, legumes, whole grains, plant-based oils and low-fat dairy products.

Dear readers, remember one thing simple eating habit is key to your health with the habit of eating for life not living life for eating. You are priceless for your beloved. Mind your chunks to live a long healthy life.

To know more about your heart health, book appointment with a cardiologist through now. Call 0311122298 or install Marham’s mobile app to book your appointment.

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Tayyaba Waris
She is a student of Ph.D. molecular biology at Comsats University, Islamabad. She is working on the causes and treatment of male infertility. She has also worked on liver disease and its herbal treatments and has recently got her paper published in the National journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals. At Marham, she writes about hot medical issues and general health problems.

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