Your heart, like any other organ, functions 24 hours. It is the center of all activity and all the other organs depend on the heart function. So, if you keep your heart healthy, your body remains healthy too! You have probably heard all kinds of advice for keeping your heart healthy, but it isn't that complicated. Following a simple and healthy lifestyle will make sure your heart is functioning fine. Here are some easy to follow diet tips that you can use for yourself and your family -
1. Increase fiber in your diet
Fiber is that part of the plant food that is not broken down in the intestines by human digestive enzymes. Fiber can be either insoluble or soluble but most fiber-containing foods have both properties. Lentils, whole grains, beans, fruits & oatmeal are commonly available foods containing fiber. Soluble fiber is thought to reduce your bad cholesterol as it can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Recommended intake of fiber is 35 to 40 grams per day. The best way to increase fiber in your diet is by making sure you eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Incorporate high-fiber foods into your diet with simple tweaks to your recipes -- for example, by adding beans to soup, oats to your favourite smoothie, etc.
2. Include nuts
Nuts are a heart healthy snack as they are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids which are considered as essential and good fats for the body. You can include a handful of nuts to your daily routine, for example, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, flaxseed, pistachio, etc. Nuts contain good fats which can reduce your bad cholesterol levels and raise your good cholesterol levels. But on other hand nuts are also high in calories; therefore, keep a check on the amount you are consuming. You can include them in your diet by adding chopped almonds, walnuts or crushed flaxseed to your salad.
3. Consume fish twice in a week
Fish is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids which is a heart healthy fat. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that may reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the body can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease and many other severe health problems. Omega-3 fatty acids may decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, decrease stroke, reduce heart failure risk and reduce irregular heartbeats. Also, in children they may improve learning ability. Eating at least one to two servings a week of fish that's rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, herring, sardines and tuna helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. To ensure maximum health benefits from fish avoid frying fish and instead choose to steam, grill or roast.
4. Add Fruits to your diet
Fruits like apples, papaya, orange, berries, etc contain pectin, beta- carotene, flavonoids, antioxidants and other vitamins that help you in keeping your heart healthy. These nutrients protect your organs from free radical damage and keep your blood vessels healthy. Include a minimum of 2-3 servings of fruits in your regular diet. Also, opt for fresh whole fruits instead of canned fruits or packaged fruit juices to get the maximum heart health benefits.
5. Make an exercise routine
Exercise helps improve blood flow and reduces cholesterol levels in your bloodstream. It also helps in burning unhealthy fat from your body and keeps your heart healthy. Try to make a routine of a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity for 5 days a week to keep your heart healthy.
A simple heart healthy recipe packed with fibre: Make oats with 1 cup milk for breakfast. Add sliced apples, chopped almonds and sprinkle some flax-seeds.