New Delhi , Sep 28 : Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) continue to adversely affect our nation as sedentary lifestyles are fast becoming the norm for an average working citizen.
While medical practices continue to work on developing better and more effective cures, maintaining heart health remains the first line of defense for tackling the problem.

One can incorporate several, simple changes in our lifestyle to help deal with the growing concern.

For the benefit of the "heart conscious", here are five simple changes that can have a significant positive impact on cardiovascular health:

-Maintain a healthy diet including nutrient rich foods: Nutrition is key to overall health. According to nutrition research, a heart healthy diet consisting of nutritious foods such as 1.5 servings (43 grams) of almonds everyday may lower total and LDL cholesterol and reduce levels of heart damaging inflammation. Consuming fish such as salmon or mackerel is also beneficial for the heart as they are a good source of Omega-3.

-Cultivate an active lifestyle: Physical activity is a boon to the heart. According to the American Heart Association, 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week, is recommended for improvement in heart health. Alternatively, 75 minutes of vigorous or high-intensity exercise can also suffice.

-Maintain a Healthy Waistline: A healthy waistline is directly proportional to cardiovascular health. Abdominal fat is linked to increased blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, and elevated levels of triglycerides which are major risk factors for heart diseases. A study showed that in addition to significantly improving LDL cholesterol, snacking on 42 grams of almonds everyday also reduced central adiposity (belly fat) and waist circumference, all well-established heart disease risk factors .

-Be smoke free: Smoking can damage the linings of the arteries which can further aid deposit of fats and cause clogging. The effects of damage caused by smoking can be severe such as a stroke, angina or a heart attack.

-Keep your ABC in Check: ABC stands for A1C, Blood Sugar, and Cholesterol respectively. A1C, a test to check for glycated haemoglobin, is essential to keep ABC levels in check for a healthier heart . Ensure you monitor your blood sugar and cholesterol level and attempt to maintain the levels within prescribed limits.

If one makes these pledges this World Heart Day, a healthier heart and lifestyle are sure to follow.

(Posted on 28 September 2017, 1669705698 3O235O180O193)