Severe heart conditions are among the most dangerous killers in India. Over the past 25 years, we have seen an alarming increase in the number of heart patients.
As of 2016, heart diseases and strokes together contributed to 28.1 per cent of the total natural deaths in India. These numbers are proof enough for us to take the health of our hearts very seriously.
This #WorldHeartDay, we discuss the importance of a proper diet to reduce or at least control heart conditions. Simple changes in our regular meals could help us maintain our health.
There’s no reason why we mustn’t make the switch.
So what foods to avoid? What foods are good for the heart?
Every individual is different. Depending on body type, metabolism and the condition itself, diets need to be fine-tuned. It is critical to consult with your nutritionist or dietitian for a tailored diet.
Broadly, a basic diet formula to follow is a low trans-fat diet that is rich in protein and fibre and contains moderate carbohydrates.
We spoke to nutritionist Meenu Agarwal to get the answers. The diabetic condition of her parents inspired her to pursue this field. Here are her valuable insights.
“The very first thing we need to know is that control is not equal to a reversal of heart conditions. Diet also requires the support of an appropriate workout regime, proper sleep and reduced stress levels are just as crucial,” she begins.
However, with proper measures, the progression of heart conditions can be slowed down, and that is a good start, she says.
Here are the safe food options that you must consider to keep your heart healthy.
“Processed cereals that have a lot of sugar coating on them are a no-no. If you are used to having it for breakfast, consider switching to whole wheat cereals instead. Similarly, instant oats are not recommended because they too undergo a lot of processing. Go instead for steel-cut and rolled oats which will give you the optimum nutrition without compromising on your health,” Agarwal explains.
She adds that nuts and seeds are excellent additions to your regular diets if you study their nutritional content thoroughly.
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“In fact, you can make a delicious yet simple and healthy breakfast out of them. Soak chia seeds and flax seeds overnight, blend them with yoghurt and add fruits and nuts to it. You can also have it like a smoothie. Filling, tasty and a wonderful option for heart patients, you cannot go wrong with them,” Agarwal explains.
Another necessary change she mentioned is that of the oils we consume. Refined oils go through several filtrations and processes. These processes not only take away the nutritional value of the oil but also adds chemicals to it.
For someone with a heart condition, this is certainly not recommended. She clarifies, “If you ask me to choose between cold-pressed and refined, I would always choose the former- irrespective of whether one has a heart condition or not.”
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As the nutritionist explained, one need not have a heart condition to control diets. Prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to severe health conditions. This #WorldHeartDay, let not cholesterol or trans-fat get you down. Stay healthy!