Monday, February 28, 2011

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States

Living a balanced lifestyle, paired with adequate exercise and good nutritional choices are the best weapons you have to fight heart disease.

Heart is the most important organ of our body, stopping of which means DEATH. Here are few tips to keep Heart Healthy:

*Avoid smoking, since smoking is highly injurious to Heart.

*Engage in regular exercise to maintain your cardiovascular fitness.

*Reduce weight since excessive weight can put more load on your Heart.

*Keep your blood pressure and blood sugar under control, since both Hypertension and Diabetes damage your Heart.

*Reduce intake of salt since excessive intake of salts leads to hypertension and also creates deposits along the inner lining of the arteries leading to Coronary Artery Disease.

*Avoid fatty foods high in saturated fats since they cause high LDL levels (bad cholesterol).This LDL causes plaque build up in arteries leading to atherosclerosis and subsequent heart damage. Foods high in Trans Fat (Hydrogenated vegetable oil) like sweets, biscuits, pastries, etc should be avoided.

*Alcohol taken in moderate quantities have shown cardio protective benefits. Wine consumed in moderation has shown to improve HDL levels (good cholesterol). But excessive alcohol consumption leads to hypertension, besides so many other health problems.

*Daily consumption of good sources of minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium like broccoli, dark leafy vegetables, bananas, orange juice, potatoes, whole grains, almonds, peanuts, raisins, tomatoes, dairy products is useful since deficiency of these three minerals has been linked to hypertension. Magnesium is also required for regulation of heartbeat and proper functioning of cardiac muscles. One can also take Multi-mineral supplements to provide these.

*Taking a daily pill containing homocystiene lowering vitamins like B vitamins and folic acid also helps in preventing heart disease. Antioxidants like Vitamin A, C, E, Selenium, Beta-Carotene and other Carotenoids, Flavanoids also help in preventing early onset of Heart disease.

*Daily consumption of plenty of dietary Fiber is also helpful since it helps in controlling diabetes and hypertension. Wheatgrass taken as juice or in powdered form also helps since it also helps in combating diabetes and hypertension.

*Garlic taken in raw form or in pill form helps in lowering blood pressure and also makes the blood thinner, improves blood circulation and reduces total cholesterol. Ginseng also lowers LDL and triglycerides

*Omega 3 Fatty Acids are probably best known supplements for your heart. They help in clearing the clogged arteries and also keep the arteries and other blood vessels strong and flexible. Fishes like mackerel, sardines, tuna, salmon, etc are good sources of Omega-3, one can also get it in supplement form. Another supplement, Co-Enzyme Q 10 is also very useful for heart.

*Aspirin or acetylsalicylic acid taken on every alternate day has also shown to help prevent heart disease.

*Stress is another factor that can adversely affect heart. Practicing of Yoga, meditation and Pranayama is very useful in combating stress. Pranayama also strengthens cardiovascular system, besides improving blood circulation and lowering blood pressure.

*Ayurvedic Medicines like Prabhakar Ras, Arjunarista, Jawahar Mohra and Brihatvatchintamani are useful in Heart Disease. Modern Medicines like Statins, Nicotinic Acid significantly lower blood cholesterol level, thus helping those suffering from heart disease associated with Hyperlipidemea. Also many Licensed Herbal Medicines are available in India which have shown excellent cardio protective results.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but local doctors and health professionals say there are no tricks to keeping your heart healthy.

Maintaining the body's essential organ is about the basics: healthy food, regular exercise and communicating with your doctor, said Dr. German Larrain, medical director of non-invasive cardiology at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

Paula McIntyre, a dietitian at Marshfield Clinic's Merrill center, said a heart-healthy diet remains largely the same from early childhood to when you're a senior citizen.

While there are no secrets, people need to remember the basics: eat less saturated fat, while pumping up how many whole grains, fruits and vegetables they consume.

"People need to remember they can achieve a balance, and there are patterns over time that can impact their overall heart health," McIntyre said.

Here are a few suggestions that can help keep your heart healthy at every age.

Children And Teenagers

Diet: Limiting sugars and processed foods is key for young children and teenagers. Parents should make soda an occasional treat and teach their children about appropriate food choices and portion sizes by example.

"If you have a parent who spends every Saturday in front of the TV with a bag of snacks, why would their child learn something different?" he said.

Beginning at an early age, parents need to instill good eating habits in their children. Replace loads of sweets and fried foods with fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean cuts of meat.

While what they eat should remain largely unchanged throughout life to keep their hearts healthy, building early habits will make it easier as adults, McIntyre said.

Exercise: Limit the time your kids spend in front of a screen, encouraging them to play outdoors on their own or participating in an organized sport.

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