Ischaemic heart disease is the leading cause of death in Indian women. Women generally are prone to putting on more weight in comparison to men. The present-day lifestyle choices and eating habits decide upon the heart health of a woman.
What Factors Contribute to a Heart Attack?
While some factors such as eating habits and exercise are in your hands, certain other factors are not in your hands:
Choose High-Fiber Foods
Eat nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy, lean protein and heart-healthy fats while limiting processed foods. Eat more of high-fiber foods such as whole-grains, fruits and vegetables to help you feel full for longer time periods and lose weight too.
The Good & Bad Fats
Fats should be a part of a healthy diet contributing around 20 to 35 percent of your total calories, with only 10 percent coming from saturated fat. Avoid foods such as sausages, bacons, ice creams, butter, fatty meats and other full-fat dairy foods rich in saturated fat as these fats can affect your heart health.
Include unsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts and seeds to lower cholesterol levels and increase overall heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fats, prevents sudden death from heart attacks.
Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fat present in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna, have been found to be helpful in preventing sudden death from heart attacks. It is recommended to eat fatty fish at least twice a week to fulfill the daily requirements of 500 milligrams per day.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fats found in ground flaxseeds and walnuts, is good for cardiac health. Eat a handful of walnuts or 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed every day for heart health.
Eat Rainbow-colored Produce
Dietitians/nutritionists always recommend filling at least half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables as they are low in calories, high in fiber and help to keep your blood pressure in check. Fruits and veggies contain abundant potassium which helps to lower blood pressure and this is the main reason for suggesting individuals to consume more produce. Eating at least 2 cups of fruits and 3 cups of vegetables every day helps to fulfill the potassium requirements of 4,700 milligrams.
Gradual Weight Loss is Simpler to Maintain
Weight loss cannot happen at the blink of an eye. Obese/overweight individuals should aim for gradual weight loss for overall health. Even a 5- to 10-percent drop in body weight indicates improved overall health. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on at least 5 days of the week to help you lose weight and keep your heart beat strong. If you are affected by heart disease and your doctor has asked you to change your lifestyle, it is better to contact a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com. An RDN is the best person to customize a healthy diet plan along with physical activity suitable for your health condition.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.