Lifestyle and diet affect overall heart health. It is evident from researches that increase in blood pressure, cholesterol levels and thus hypertension is an impact of unhealthy lifestyle. High levels of cholesterol cause blocked arteries decreasing its total area for blood to pass through. This makes the heart pump blood with greater pressure.
Increase in fat deposits on the arterial walls may block the blood flow and cause a heart stroke. These fat deposits are the outcome of what we eat and how we maintain our physical health. Proper diet and regular physical workout are the easiest ways to healthy heart. Some lifestyle hacks could save you from potentially life-threatening situations such as hypertension, hemorrhage and heart attack.
Following these five healthy lifestyle tips you can follow to reduce the risk of heart diseases preventing morbidity and mortality
1. Reduce salt intake:Higher the concentrations of sodium in blood higher the blood pressure is. A small reduction in salt intake can lower the blood pressure by 2-8 mm Hg. Diet to lower blood pressure is low in salt. People diagnosed with a risk of high blood pressure, diabetes or are 51 years and older are advised to cut back their salt intake to 1500 mg a day. Foods containing low salt are good alternatives to processed foods and beverages.
What can be done?
- One should make it a thumb rule to not add extra salt to meals, instead herbs and spices can be used to flavor up the dish.
- High salt levels in chips, fried and packaged food must be watched out. They may savor your taste buds but are totally unsafe for your heart.
- Controlled and calculated salt intake is a must to maintain the blood pressure levels.
2. Eat a healthy balanced diet:Diet promoting heart health is a prerequisite in our busy schedules today. Foods that lower blood pressure such as green leafy vegetables, potassium rich fruits, low fat foods and whole grains all favor good heart health. A concept called as DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is advised to people at a higher risk of developing heart diseases. This kind of diet focuses on minimizing or zeroing the fat and carbohydrate intake and including more of heart friendly foods in the diet.
What to eat?
- Eating more vegetables and fruits increase potassium levels in the blood that help reducing the blood pressure levels.
- Take up whole grains, low fat dairy products and low sugar beverages.
- Fast foods are highly palatable but one must be smart enough to prefer healthy diet options over them while dining out.
3. Maintain a physical exercise routine:
Exercising is a must to prevent the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Health providers consider daily 30-40 minutes moderate to vigorous intensity physical workout important to control the heart risk factors. It improves fat metabolism preventing it to get deposit on the walls of coronary arteries. Higher the rate of fat metabolism less is the risk of obesity. Obesity is considered as one of the highest risk factors for heart stroke. Physical activity lowers blood pressure level and prevents hypertension
How to lose those extra kilos?
- Aim at reducing those extra inches from your waistline slowly and steadily. Increase the amount of exercise each week making it more intense than before.
- Aerobics, walking, swimming, outdoor sports and dancing help burn more calories adding more health.
4. Minimize alcohol intake: Alcohol is cardio protective in nature till the extent it is consumed moderately within prescribed limits. Excessive alcohol usage has a negative impact on cardiac health increasing blood pressure, obesity, alcoholism and greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Binge drinking increases triglyceride levels that contribute to irregular heartbeats.
What are the limits?
- Alcohol consumption is prescribed to be limited to at most of two drinks for men and one drink women in a day with one drink referring to a maximum of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
- Moderate drinking is found to effectively decrease the blood pressure by 2-4 mm Hg while increased consumption could reverse the effects raising the blood pressure and decrease the effects of medication.
5. Say ‘No’ to smoking:Smoking is a potential risk factor for developing Coronary Heart Disease and heart attack. So quitting smoking is very important in controlling blood pressure levels. People should start following proper quitting programs so that it is easy for them to leave this habit.
What can help quit smoking?
- One should consult a doctor if is a prominent smoker before quitting it bluntly as abrupt stopping can lead to other problems so try it by reducing slowly.
- Parents must guide their child about tobacco abuse and its harmful effects.
- Support groups and family are great help in quitting smoking and supporting you throughout the process.
Other Natural Blood Pressure Control Remedies:
- Cut your caffeine intake.
- Regularly monitor blood pressure levels.
- Maintain a diet chart and maintain a healthy weight by controlling your calories.
- Drink green tea as it is rich in antioxidants. Hibiscus tea is found to effectively reduce blood pressure.
- Relieve stress and Re-Live your life. Sit relax and do not over think.
- Take music as a relaxing therapy reducing daily stress.
- Do not over burden yourself with work. Long working hours are bad for heart health.
- Soy proteins and milk proteins with low fat levels lower systolic blood pressure in case of hypertension.
- Practice yoga. It helps maintain overall health.
Medications also work best with balanced diet and regular physical activity. Introducing these beneficial tips to lower blood pressure could largely help in reducing hypertension and risk of other cardiac diseases.
- Ischemic Heart Disease - (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/coronary-heart-disease-risk-factors)
- 10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication - (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974?pg=2)
- Lifestyle Changes for Heart Attack Prevention - (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/PreventionTreatmentofHeartAttack/LifestyleChanges_UCM_303934_Article.jsp#.W2Qe6bjhXIU)
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Kriti Jain. "Five Healthy Lifestyle Modifications that Lower Hypertension Risk". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/five-healthy-lifestyle-modifications-that-lower-hypertension-risk.htm. (accessed Nov 29, 2023).
Kriti Jain. 2020. Five Healthy Lifestyle Modifications that Lower Hypertension Risk. Medindia, viewed Nov 29, 2023, https://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/five-healthy-lifestyle-modifications-that-lower-hypertension-risk.htm.
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