By Aman Puri
In times when the entire country is hit by the Coronavirus pandemic, people have realized the importance of healthy lifestyle and stronger immunity. Times have changed and today, most of the professionals work from home, which provides the opportunity for healthy cooking and improving your eating habits with wholesome nourishing meals. We need to improve our eating habits and gain knowledge of eating better and should consider this as an opportunity to enhance our lifestyle and to positively adapt to this changing pattern.
So on this World Heart Day, let’s vow to eat heart-healthy foods, encourage our overall health and follow a dynamic lifestyle for stronger metabolism and healthier hearts.
Working from home? Weight Loss and Diet Tips for better heart health
- Eat real food
Eating nutrient rich food along with a balanced intake of vitamins and minerals will have a healthier impact on your productivity and energy levels. Also, it helps in avoiding unnecessary binge eating and helps balance body sugar levels. Shorter but more frequent meals are helpful in the consumption of a variety of foods, that aid in gaining appropriate nutrient levels for your heart and overall health.
- Fix your meal timings
Eating based on a set schedule leads to a remarkable reduction in indigestion, overeating and also helps in developing a more disciplined lifestyle.
- Drink water and stay hydrated
Staying for long hours in front of computer/mobile screens makes you lethargic. Therefore it is very essential that you have a glass of water every hour. Even better is the intake of lemon water, coconut water or herbal teas as well.
- No processed food
Food items like bakery items, frozen food must be avoided as they are rich in trans fats or saturated or hydrated fats. Additionally, minimize the intake of foods that are high in saturated fats such as red meat or full-fat dairy products.
- Low salt intake
Minimize the intake of salt in your meals. High sodium is one of the major reasons for high blood pressure and leads to exposure to the risk of other heart diseases. Do not intake more than 1 tsp/day or 5 milligrams (mg) per day (WHO, 2013).
Top Heart-Healthy Foods
- Fatty fishes
Take your omega-3 dose in the form of fatty fish like mackerel, sardines, wild salmon, as these are the best bio available sources of the mineral. According to American Heart Association (AHA), having fish twice a week is good for better heart health.
Pomegranate consumption helps in increased HDL levels and reduced lipid oxidation, owing to the presence of punicalagin antioxidants in pomegranate. Additionally, it has three times the antioxidant action of green tea and red wine.
- Antioxidant-rich berries
Antioxidant-rich berries such as black, pink, dark blue and red-colored berries can offer many vital vitamins and minerals. Some of such berries are strawberries, cherries, jamun, red grapes, blackberries etc.
- Beetroot and Dark green leafy vegetables
They contain important nutrients such as fiber, vitamin K, B vitamins like folate and nitrates that are essential for heart disease prevention. E.g. of such vegetables include spinach, bathua, amaranth leaves, fenugreek, mustard greens and collard green.
Additionally, Beetroot also helps oxygenate the body as it has high nitrate levels, antioxidants, and other natural minerals.
- Nuts and Seeds
Heart friendly nuts help reduce LDL. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, water chestnuts, etc. are your heart’s best friend. Also, seeds like alpha-alpha seeds, flaxseeds, basil seeds offer arginine amino acid and micronutrients are helpful in reducing blood pressure and keeping the cholesterol under control.
- Whole grains and millets
The phytonutrients accessible from whole grains like wheat flour, oats, dalia; and millets such as ragi, bajra, jowar, supply fibre, B vitamins, stanols to the body which are known to have a highly positive effect on lower cholesterol levels.
- Garlic, cinnamon & turmeric
Eating raw garlic provides antioxidant ‘allicin,’ which is known to control blood pressure better. A pinch of cinnamon and basil to your green tea/herbal tea along with ‘curcumin’ in turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory. You can include it in food cuisines or even add it to your milk.
The times have changed and most of us are stuck at home with the new work from home environment. Hence, it is very important that you eat right for a healthy heart and defeat heart diseases!
The columnist is Founder, Steadfast Nutrition. Views expressed are the author’s own.