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Consultancy corner: Diet, exercise, relaxation and sleep - the mantra for healthy heart

It really heartening to see young patients below age of 30 years, having heart attack and undergoing coronary artery interventions.

Consultancy corner: Diet, exercise, relaxation and sleep - the mantra for healthy heart
DR. ARUN BEEMAN MBBS, MS, MRCS(Edin), MCh (CTVS), Fellow Paediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery


The Lancet dated Aug 01, 2018 has come up with some alarming data on coronary heart disease trends in India. Adults born after 1970s are much more vulnerable to coronary deaths than those born earlier. In 2000, the age-standardized mortality rate of ischemic heart disease at all ages in India was similar to high-income countries such as the UK. By 2015, in India these mortality rates rose to more than double those of the UK or USA. Where are we heading to? 

Caring for your heart is caring for yourself! The future starts today and not tomorrow. The mantra of taking care of your heart lies in diet, exercise, relaxation and sleep. You are, what you eat. You don’t have to eat less but eat right. Eat larger portions of low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and smaller portions of high-calorie, high-sodium foods, such as refined, processed or fast foods. Eating more fruits and vegetables may help you cut back on higher calorie foods. Limit coconut, canned fruits and fried vegetables. Whole grains like brown rice, wheat flour and oatmeal are good for heart and control hypertension. Avoid white breads, refined flour, muffin, cakes and biscuits. When you do use fats, use olive oil or canola oil and limit butter, cream sauce, coconut or palm oil. Every time you eat, you nourish yourself. Try to avoid processed foods as much as possible. If it comes from plant eat it, if it’s made in plant avoid it!

 Good exercise is a tribute to your heart. Every day walking is just enough. Every step you take is part of your journey to good heart health. Walk brisk and walk it out.  The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise on most days of the week. Exercise at home and office by climbing stairs. It’s nice to go for week end cycle ride in Chennai too. Swim at least 30 minutes once in 3 or 4 days.

Employees who experience work-related stress and individuals who are socially isolated or lonely have an increased risk of a first CHD event. Stress is perhaps the most under rated risk factor. It’s a silent killer. Learn to relax. Meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga are mainstays of stress relief. Eat slowly, take a nap and enjoy the sounds of music you find calming.

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. It’s time to change and do it now. You can’t beat a healthy heart! 

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