As winters are approaching, we get worried about our healthas the winter months are often associated with large meals and heavy comfort foods. We also start to overeat, most of the time sedentary lifestyle and more sleep, outdoor activities becomes limited, which may results in weight gain, cardiovascular diseases, acidity, bloating, cold, cough, flu,depression, anxiety, stress,etc.
Our heart is an important part of our body and taking care of it is important. Winters are a worse and difficult season for heart health because we face a lot of health issues of heart. The problem of heart disease is that the first symptom is often fatal.You must understand why a good diet will keep your heart healthy. A lot of your organ health depends on what you eat. Thus, it is important that you know about foods for healthy heart in winter.If only we correct our eating habits, then not only we would have perfect body weight, but we can also get rid of most of the diseases.
Dietary modifications to keep your heart Healthy
1. Limit Unhealthy Fats: How much you consume saturated and trans- fats is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower4 your risk of coronary artery disease. A High blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in the arteries, called atherosclerosis, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Choose lean meats with less than 10%fat. Use less butter, margarine when cooking and serving.Use low fat milk, curd. Avoid fried food itemslike poori, parantha,pakoras,kachori and namkeens.
2. Limit your high fat protein sources: Legumes , beans, peas, lentils, fish, lean meat, low fat dairy products, soya and soya products are good, low fat sources of protein and contain no cholesterol. Consuming these low-fat protein sources will reduce fat and cholesterol intake and increase fiber intake, which is healthy for your heart.
3. Limit or Reduce Sodium: Eating too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease. Limiting sodium is an important part of a heart- healthy diet. Reducing the amount of salt you add to food like salads, raita, fruits, at the table or while cooking like paranthas, soups, dals, vegetables is a good first step. Much of the salt you eat comes from processed or canned foods such as soups, fruits, jam, baked goods, chips, frozen items, readymade preserved dinner items. Eating fresh foods, soups, stews can reduce the amount of salt you eat. Use herbs spices, salt free seasoning instead of table salt.
4. Select whole grains: They are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. Simple substitutions for refined grain products are bajra, makki, barley, quinoa, dalia, oats, buckwheat flour and ragi instead of maida.Avoid junk foods like burgers, pizza, pasta, momos, noodles, cookies.
5. Incorporate citrus foods: Consume more citrus in your diet such as lemons, oranges, lime, tomatoes, Amlaas as they are great for your heart. They contain Vitamin C as well as flavonoids which boost high density- lipoprotein cholesterol. This can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
6. Incorporate root vegetables: Eating root vegetables like carrots, turnip, sweet potato, potatoes, beets are best to consume as they contain many vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A as well as beta-carotene, Vitamin C. Beets also contain important bioactive pigments known as betalains, which provide the beets red violet color.They are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory capabilities known to protect a variety of systems in body including cardio vascular health. The natural nitrates found in beetroot helps dilate blood vessels to decrease blood pressure and reduce the overstimulation of the nervous system that occurs with heart disease.
7. Increase fiber in your diet: Increasing fiber in your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole pulses grains will give you satiety and feeling of fullness. In this manner you will not have craving for unhealthy food items. Fiber rich foods are rich in antioxidants, all vitamins and minerals which is important to keep your heart healthy.
Super foods for healthy heart
1. Hot drinks like fresh soups, with less salt ,green tea, kahwa, hot chocolate shakes , a concoction of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom and a bit of honey, are perfect winter’s beverages. The warmth that it gives to the body is all that you need to keep.
2. Onion and garlics, these allium vegetables have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. They have also been shown to open up blood flow and improve circulation.
3. Broccoli and cauliflowers, these two step brothers are the real fighters of winter sickness. They both are high in Vitamin C, which is associated with enhanced immune function. It helps as the best foods for a healthy heart winters.
4. Dark Chocolate, as this is made up of at least 60 to 70%% cocoa may benefit your heart. As studies shows that dark chocolate contains flavonoids called polyphenols, which may help blood pressure, clotting and inflammation. Please be careful not to consume milk chocolate or chocolate candies or any other chocolates.
5. Apples help protect the heart due to their prebiotic content. Prebiotic serve as food for beneficial bacteria used in the gut which are tied to cardiovascular protection.
6. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, methi saag are packed with health benefits.They contain bitrates which are linked to better cardiovascular function and reduced inflammation.They are also rich sources of potassium, which helps prevent the blood vessels from hardening.
7. Dry fruits like almonds, walnut handful in a day may lower your cholesterol. It may also protect against inflammation in your heart’s arteries, as they are packed with omega3 fatty acids. They also have plant sterols, fiber and heart healthy fats.Seeds such as sunflower seeds, chia seeds or flaxseeds are great sources of protein, fiberand healthy fats.They boost levels of HDL while lowering LDL and have also been shown to helpreduce blood pressure.
8. Some golden ingredients which are available in every Indian Kitchen like ginger, honey, jaggery, pure ghee, cinnamon, cloves, saunf, and fresh haldi. All of these are rich in antioxidants and some of them have anti-inflammatory properties which boost your immunity and keep your heart healthy.
9. Include fresh herbs which are available in your kitchen gardens like tulsi, curry leaves, mint coriander leaves, thyme instead of rich sauces, creams, salt and fat based dressings in salads for making a heart healthy choices. They add flavors without the bad stuff.
1. Eat smaller amounts of high calorie, high sodium foods, such as refined, processed or fast food.
2. Eat more low-calorie, nutrient rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains cereals and high fiber foods.
3. Control portion size- use small plates or bowls or glasses to help control your portion. Eat small frequent meals.
4. Check the food labels of cookies, cakes, ice-creams, crackers, chips, frozen food items. As these foods are not only low in nutritional value, some may contain transfats, high sodium chemicals. Trans fats may be listed as partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredient label. As transfats are no longer allowed to be added in food items.
5. Drink at least 12 to 15 glasses of water every day to keep you hydrated. You can drink warm water adding lemon slice or green tea bag or lemon tea.
6. Avoid too much of Alcohol and cigarette consumption.
7. Besides Dietary modification you must keep a watch on your weight and your mental health. Indulge towardsmeditation, walk, exercise, yoga,listen to your favouritemusic, watch favourite TV shows, indulge in some out door or indoor sports or dance or aerobics or Zumba.One should maintain a disciplined life. Healthy habits are your heart heart’s desire.
8. Regular and routine checkups of your heart and whole body. Monitor your BP.
It’s an important time to make sure you stay on top of your diet and keep yourself well nourished. Everyone should aim for a well-balanced diet. Crash diet may not provide the balance of nutrients you need. Healthy Heart is healthy body. You should take care of your heart like your own baby. Do your part by caring for the heart. Be smart and protect your heart.