Go nuts for a healthy heart

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) continue to adversely affect our nation as inactive ways of life are fast becoming the standard for an average office-goer. While therapeutic practices continue to work on developing better and more effective cures, maintaining heart health remains the first line of defence for tackling the problem. One can incorporate several, simple changes in the lifestyle to help deal with the growing concern.

Fitness is one thing that can help control high cholesterol levels, which can be one of the major reasons for heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week, is recommended for improvement in heart health . What you eat every day also matters a lot - especially if you tend to follow a diet high in a certain type of fat. If you have high cholesterol, making small changes to your diet is one of the best things you can do to lower your levels and protect yourself against heart disease. Along with medication and exercise, a diet high in fiber and healthy fats can help you get rid of a lot of potentially harmful cholesterol in your system.

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 . Almonds also have a low glycemic index, are naturally cholesterol free, and are a source of protein, fiber and antioxidants, which makes them the best bet for good heart health. Consuming fish such as salmon or mackerel is also beneficial for the heart as they are a good source of Omega-3.

Talking about heart diseases and ways to combat it, one effective measure to deal with it is to remain 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. Therefore, it’s important to remain away from smoking if you want to be free from heart ailments.

According to studies, 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 .

There are many other ways to effectively reduce high cholesterol levels. Trying just a few of the above suggestions could result in a significant reduction in cholesterol and lead to other health benefits, such as weight loss and better dietary habits.