Valentine’s Day celebrates your love that wants to see your loved ones happy and in good health. It can be difficult to take measures that keep their heart healthy in a fast-paced lifestyle. Cholesterol and blood pressure are the two major factors that affect heart health. Below mentioned tips and precautions can help beat these problems:
Know the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats:
Trans fats are unhealthy and have no nutritional value. These are found in baked and fried goods like cakes, cookies, microwave popcorn, etc. Unhealthy fats get stuck in the arteries and are difficult to flush out of the body. Monounsaturated fats found in vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish, are goods fats that help in balancing your diet. Saturated fats found in whole milk and dairy products are beneficial for the body if consumed in a limited amount.
Add soluble fibre rich foods to your diet:
Soluble fibre aids in digestion and also helps in reducing cholesterol levels in the body. Foods rich in soluble fibre include green leafy vegetables, fruits, whole grain foods like oatmeal and brown rice, and legumes like chickpeas and dals. Gradually increase the consumption of these foods for best results.
Reduce sodium consumption:
Cutting down on sodium is helpful for getting your blood pressure levels to normal. Try to reduce your salt intake by using less salt while preparing food. Read the labels while buying salt and pick the one with low sodium content. If you have eaten an excessive amount of sodium in one day, balance it out by eating low sodium foods like salads without dressing, quinoa, etc. the next day.
Cut down on drinking and smoking:
Reducing the number of drinks, you consume in one day can help you battle both cholesterol and blood pressure. Consuming excessive alcohol can add to your sugar levels and also reduce the effect of blood pressure medication. Cigarette smoke is proven to increase your blood pressure for several minutes after smoking. Quitting the habit is the best choice if you suffer from high blood pressure.
Eat foods that help in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure:
Apart from leafy vegetables, berries and red beats are beneficial while dealing with cholesterol and blood pressure. Substituting whole milk with skimmed milk helps in reducing the intake of saturated fats. Fish like salmon and mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acid, which is one of the good fats. Add garlic to your food to fill up on nitric oxide that helps in relaxing the heart muscles.
Gift dark chocolate this Valentine’s Day:
Consuming up to 100 grams of dark chocolate every day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It has less sugar and is rich in bioactive flavanols and theobromine which are beneficial to heart health. It is also known to facilitate blood circulation throughout the body.
This valentine’s day, take a step towards having a healthy heart and encourage your loved one to do the same!