Jan 3, 2022
India has witnessed heart disease become one of the leading causes of mortality in the past two decades. As per reports, the fourth of all deaths is attributable to various cardiovascular diseases. Did you know, 52% of all cardiovascular deaths in India occur before the age of 70? It was further noted that heart attacks kill 1 person every 33 seconds in India.
Heart disease accounts for nearly 1/3rd of all deaths worldwide! All these facts help us realise that keeping our heart healthy is crucial. To stay in the pink of health, exercise is important but so is maintaining a healthy diet. Eating the right food can help avoid heart diseases.
We spoke with Dr. Amit Rathod, (MBBS, PGDDM, FCC- Cardiologist) from Dhani, who shared a list of various foods items that we must make a part of a diet to keep our heart healthy.
1. Green leafy vegetables
Among the various green leafy vegetables, Spinach, which is commonly available across India, is a good source of Vit-K. It helps to protect your arteries and promotes proper blood clotting. Its content of dietary nitrates help in reducing the BP by reducing the arterial stiffness and improve the functioning of the cell lining of the blood vessels.
2. Whole grains
In India, it is common to see families indulge in whole grains. For example, rotis, which are made from whole wheat. They are a good source of fibre and have been found to be useful in reducing the LDL cholesterol (bad), SBP by around 6 mmHg and stroke risk by up to 25% reduction.One thing that you must avoid is refined flour (maida) as it aids in obesity, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and elevated cholesterol.
Berries like black berries, blueberries, strawberries, etc are good sources of antioxidants that protect against the oxidative stress & reduce the risk associated with heart diseases.
Not only are avocados a good source of potassium and MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) but the potassium in them helps reduce the blood pressure up to 8/4 mmHg. This is associated with 15% reduction in the chances of a stroke. Furthermore, MUFA helps to reduce the BAD cholesterol, LDL, in the body and lower the risk of heart diseases.
5. Fatty fish & fish oil
Fish, particularly salmon, tuna and sardines are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids which contain EPA & DHA. EPA stands for Eicosapentaenoic Acid and DHA is the Docosahexaenoic Acid which are good for the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the BP in general while the Fetal Bovine Serum found in fishes, lowers the total cholesterol and triglycerides level in the body.If you are someone who doesn't like eating fish, you could take it in the form of supplements, capsules that contain Omega-3 fatty acids, as advised by your family physician.
6. Dry fruits
Two of the most important dry fruits, walnuts and almonds contribute greatly to our heart health. Walnuts contain micronutrients e.g, magnesium, copper and manganese which help to reduce the BP by 2-3 mmHg and LDL (Bad cholesterol) by up to 16 %. While almonds are a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, Riboflavin, fibre and phosphorus.
7. Dark chocolates
These are a good source of antioxidants and flavonoids which help to reduce the oxidative stress to the body. Dark chocolates have been found to reduce CADs by up to 57% and the formation of calcified plaques by 32% in the coronary arteries.
Eating plenty of nitrate-rich vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, and beets may lower your risk of heart attack. Additionally, tomatoes are a good source of Lycopene and must be included in your diet. Lycopene is a powerful natural antioxidant that helps the cardiac system by reducing the LDL and increasing the HDL (good cholesterol) in the heart.
Flax seeds and chia seeds are again good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids which control the blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides content. The best part about these is that they can be included in everything - breakfast, smoothies, main course - everything!
Not only does garlic add a unique flavour to your food, having garlic helps the heart by its direct antiatherogenic and anti- sclerotic effect at the level of the arterial wall. It is also an excellent source of antioxidants, which help in fighting infection and cell damage.
For more information and expert advice, consult with top cardiologists on the Dhani app. With Dhani doctor, you can speak to any of our doctors who will be able to help you with your health concerns. Get connected to Dhani doctor in just 10 seconds, available 24x7. Download today to try free consultations for 30 days.