One of the oldest and the most commonly heard quote “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” by Mahatma Gandhi is unfortunately realized by only those who suffer from chronic health issues like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. One out of 4 deaths is due to heart diseases in India. Cardiovascular diseases have topped the ladder affecting both urban and rural Indian populations in the last 2-3 decades.
Previously non-modifiable factors like family history, age and gender dictated the prevalence of heart disease. In the last few decades, heart diseases have surpassed those factors and modifiable or controllable risk factors like food choices, physical inactivity and never-ending stress largely determine the risk of heart disease.
What are Cardiovascular Diseases? It is a group of diseases associated with abnormal functioning of the heart and the blood vessels. Heart disease by birth is termed as congenital disease and if it appears in later life is termed as acquired heart disease, is the most common. Coronary Artery Diseases (CAD) like angina and myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack takes place when there’s a reduction of blood flow towards the heart muscle due to build-up of plaque formation a.k.a atherosclerosis.
How to keep your heart healthy?
- Go for an annual checkup
- Maintain your weight
- Get involved in 30 MINS of daily exercise
- Quit smoking and alcohol
- Watch for stress triggers and take steps to destress your life
- Practice yoga and meditation daily.
Although all of these would impact your heart health positively, one of the simplest lifestyle changes that will benefit your heart is watching what food you put in your mouth.
Diet for Healthy Heart
As per Ayurveda arterial plaque is a toxic matter that builds up because your body is not able to get rid of it efficiently. So, the diet should be low in toxic load i.e unhealthy fats and high sodium foods especially saturated fat, ready-to-eat or highly processed foods should be discarded from your kitchen. One should take the following steps to minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease, modifying your diet is the first step.
What to eat?
As per one study, a favourable effect of ayurvedic diet was observed on the arterial function of the heart and associated multiple risk factors in people with known coronary heart disease.
The Ayurvedic diet comprises of:-
Early Morning- 200ml warm water + 1tsp(5ml) honey + ½ lemon’s juice+ ½ tsp (5gm) coriander powder+ ½ tsp Jeera powder+ 1 tsp (5ml) fresh ginger juice.
Breakfast:- 1plate Vegetable Upma/ Veg Vermicelli /Veg Daliya OR 1-2 Missi Roti/ Besan Chilla
Mid meal:- 1 Whole fruit / coconut water/ herbal tea
Lunch:- 1 Whole wheat roti + 1 katori green veg + 2 katori dal + 1 katori Sprouts + 1 glass chaas/ 1 katori curd
Evening:- 1cup Herbal tea + handful of roasted chana OR 1bowl tomato+carrot+dudhi soup
Dinner:- 1 Multigrain roti 1katori green veggie + 1 katori dal
(Measurements:- 1 Katori- 150ml, 1 cup- 200ml, 1 bowl- 250 ml, 1 plate- 5-7 inch sized plate)
Few more tips:-
- Cook food in cold-pressed oils only like cold-pressed sesame oil, cold-pressed groundnut, sunflower, and coconut oil.
- Red Chilli Powder helps improve the elasticity of blood vessels, lowers bad cholesterol and blood pressure
- Eat-in bronze plate and katoris
- Sit down cross-legged on the floor during mealtime
- Eat multi flour rotis instead of maida based rotis
- Raw vegetable salad with Himalayan salt and lemon juice, sprinkle 1 tsp of sesame or flaxseed on top of it.
- Do not add salt while cooking food, add it to your plate instead.
- Refined food – such as refined oil, atta, bakery products and packaged foods
- Stay away from alcohol and smoking
- Look for dehydration– this will help maintain blood flow
- Stress triggers – take some time to figure out what triggers your stress and stay away from it
You should also know your numbers – including weight, blood pressure, blood lipid levels and blood sugar levels at least once in 6 months. A healthy and nutritious diet along with adequate exercise can keep stress at a bay and you will surely have a healthy heart that will stay young and healthy for years.