Everyone is focussed on getting those ripped abs, bulging arms, chiselled chest and bigger back but fitness is beyond that. There is an important muscle in our body that many choose to ignore – Heart. Heart related health issues are very common around the world with processed food, western high calorie diet, high alcohol consumption and bad health choices.
Today I want to help you understand your heart a bit more than you currently do. You can take measures in your life towards improving heart health of your own as well as loved ones.
Here is my 5 step guide for better heart health:
- ELIMINATE BAD FATS – unhealthy Trans and saturated fats are linked to clogging the arteries around the heart which increased blood pressure. It forces the heart to work harder to pump blood around the whole body which results in heart attacks. Foods rich in Omega 6 cause inflammation over time which is another reason for heart related deaths.Best course of action is to avoid processed food and fatty red meats. Stick to lean sources of protein and healthy sources of good fats.
- CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISES – doing cardiovascular exercises require blood to be pumped around the whole body. What it means for the heart is a benefit of improved efficiency of stroked volume, i.e., easily pumping of blood around the body. Performing cardiovascular training makes the heart more fit for its purpose prolonging its health. While that is happening you are also burning fat from body which also goes in favour of your heart in terms of less tissue to pump blood to.
- GREENS ARE YOUR FRIEND – I am sure all or most of you have heard from your mothers and teachers to “eat your greens”. I know my mother always emphasised on eating all kinds of vegetables which is now a part of my lifestyle. When it comes to heart health, anything high in fibre is your friend. Research has shown that insoluble fibres binds to the cholesterol in the intestines and forces it to be excreted out of the body instead being stored. This helps lowering the plaque in the arteries, therefore, reducing the stress on the heart to pump blood around the body. Additionally, your heart also benefits from the nitrates that is associated with improved cardiac health.
- AVOID DEHYDRATION – Dehydration also makes the heart work harder because the stroke volume reduces. In simple words, the less volume of blood is pumped around the body with every heart beat when your body is dehydrated. Therefore, having proper hydration throughout the day, especially before, during and after your workouts is important.
- REDUCE TABLE SALT – Excessive amount of table salt should be avoided because of its richness in Sodium content. Even though sodium acts as a good electrolyte but too much of anything can be harmful. Excessive amount of sodium in our body pulls large quantity of blood into our blood vessels, which means increase in blood pressure. It stresses the heart immediately. If this too common for a long time, the heart health is at risk. Stick to principle of moderation and pick better choices like Himalayan salt.
Making small changes in our lifestyle and choices can do wonders to our overall heart health. It’s the matter of how bad we want it and how much effort we are willing to make. Our heart is very crucial in keeping us alive, let’s not take for granted.
Well it’s time to listen to your heart!