Popular singer KK died of myocardial infarction or heart attack recently after performing at a concert in Kolkata. This has raised concern about cardiac health in general among people. Considering lifestyle factors play a crucial role in heart ailments, experts recommend right diet and exercises to improve heart health and prevent heart attack. It is also important to manage risk factors such as smoking and stress to reduce chances of any heart trouble. (Also read: Keep heart diseases at bay with these easy breathing exercises)
Heart attack happens when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is reduced or cut off completely. Foods with high amounts of sugar, salt, refined carbs, saturated fat can raise risk of heart attack and lead to build-up of plaque of fat, cholesterol and other things due to which blood clots can form.
Eating healthy food and limiting intake of alcohol while increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other heart healthy foods can help you strengthen your heart health.
Dr Sanjay Kumar, Director of Cardiology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad talks about the right diet and exercises to prevent heart attack, in an interview with HT Digital.
• Limit the amount of sodium in food to up to 6 gm. This means choosing low-salt and ‘no-added salt’ foods and seasonings at the table or while cooking. The nutrition facts label on food packaging shows the amount of sodium in the item.
• Limit drinks that contain alcohol. Too much alcohol can increase blood pressure and triglyceride level. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. Alcohol also adds extra calories, which will cause weight gain. Excess alcohol also increases your blood pressure.
• Dietary approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH): Doctors recommend the DASH eating plan for high blood pressure. The DASH eating plan focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other foods that are heart healthy and low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium. This diet plan is also particularly helpful for prevention of coronary artery disease.
• DASH also focuses on fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products, fish, poultry, and nuts. The DASH eating plan reduces red meats (including lean red meats), sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages. It is rich in nutrients, protein, and fibre. The DASH eating plan is a good healthy eating plan, even for those who don’t have high blood pressure.
– Routine physical activity can lower many heart disease risk factors, including LDL or bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, and excess weight.
– Physical activity also can lower risk for diabetes and raise HDL cholesterol level. HDL is the good cholesterol that helps prevent heart disease.
– People gain health benefits from as little as 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. 4-5 km brisk walk a day is what is required.
– Heavy weights and exercises are not advised as they can also lead to plaque rupture and thus acute coronary events. Regular walking 4-5 km a day decreases systolic BP by 20-30 mm Hg.
Maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk of hypertension. A general goal to aim for is a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25.
BMI measures your weight in relation to your height and gives an estimate of your total body fat. .
A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. A BMI of less than 25 is the goal for preventing and treating hypertension & heart disease.
CONTROLLING RISK FACTORS
BP starts to decrease within 24 hours of not smoking. Within one year of quitting, risk decreases significantly by make it two years, the risk decreases to an extent of non-smoker.
– Research shows that the most commonly reported “trigger” for hypertension is an emotionally upsetting event—particularly one involving anger. Also, some of the ways people cope with stress — such as drinking, smoking, or overeating — aren’t healthy.
– Learning how to manage stress, relaxing, and coping with problems can improve emotional and physical health. Having supportive people in your life with whom you can share your feelings or concerns can help relieve stress.
– Physical activity, medicine, and relaxation therapy also can help relieve stress.