KEEP YOUR HEART HEALTHY IN 2015

 KEEP YOUR HEART HEALTHY IN 2015

‘As the year clock ticks over one more time, we bring you seven great ways to change your diet so that your heart can stay healthy for a long time into the future.’
A healthy heart is probably the most important thing that you need in your life when it comes to health and well-being. It’s that little fist-sized blood-pumping machine that keeps your cells fed with oxygen, and the moment it stops, your organs get deprived of life one by one and begin to fail. So while we begin a new year, let’s remind ourselves how to keep our hearts healthy and fit. This is a timely reminder because for most of us, the holiday season is an invitation to indulge ourselves in all sorts of unhealthy food. Now it’s time to break those bad habits and make some good ones.
1. Cocoa flavonols
Flavonols are found in coffee, tea and chocolate. These have been found to help increase the elasticity of blood vessels and contribute to normal blood flow. Don’t think that this gives you license to drink a lot of tea and coffee and to binge on chocolates, though. One tiny square of dark chocolate per day is ample.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Found in proteins such as fish, these types of fatty acids have been shown to decrease triglyceride levels, potentially lowering blood pressure. Combine this with a healthy helping of olive oil, which contains the antioxidant hydroxytyrosol, which protects blood lipids from oxidative damage.
3. Bluberries
Nothing fancy about these. Just pop a few of them into our mouth at regular intervals throughout the day, mostly between meals. Regular consumption of blueberries has been linked to increased levels of vascular health, lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure is a great way to reduce heart disease risk.
4. Vitamin K
Think of this as an effective cleaner of your blood vessels. It removes all the excess calcium out of blood vessel walls to facilitate smoother blood flow and improve overall cardiovascular health. You will find Vitamin K in spinach, mustard, turnip, broccoli, brussels sprouts, egg yolk, chicken liver and cheddar cheese. So take your pick, and add a selection of these foods to your daily diet.
5. Dairy
A glass of milk a day will keep the doctor away into your old age. Case studies of people with hypertension have revealed that an increased consumption of low-fat dairy products can and do decrease the risk of high blood pressure. Yoghurt, milk, cheese and butter are your obvious options. But keep the fat content low, and the amount moderate. Too much of anything is bad for your heart and health, remember.
6. Almonds and walnuts
In addition to being rich in protein, almonds and walnuts contain Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), which improve serum fatty acid profiles and decrease the overall risk of heart disease. Therefore, make sure you have a fistful of almonds or walnuts every day between meals to keep those hunger pangs away and also to keep your heart healthy. Cashew nuts are also a great substitute for a between-meal snack.
7. Phytosterols
These are steroid compounds similar to cholesterol that are present in plants. Mostly found in nuts and berries, these help in reducing low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is the main source of heart disease.

Harshit Sinha

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