Every year, 29 th September is commemorated as World Heart Day to raiseawareness about cardiovascular disease (CVD) and negate its impact across the world. CVD, a powerful killeris the leading cause of deaths globally. 1 The burden of the disease is rapidly increasing, and experts foresee that India will record thehighest number ofcardiac deaths by 2030 2 .
With the commitment to tackle the foreseeable health crisis, the theme of World Heart Day this year is ‘Use Heart for Every Heart’. The theme reflects the urgency and opportunity to stop and rethink how beating cardiovascular disease is something that matters to every beating heart.
The pandemic has given us time to look back and contemplate on our choices and lifestyle. As it is famously believed ‘you are what you eat’, thus instilling the integral role food plays to be healthy and fit. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that a daily snack of 42 grams of almonds, consumed as part of an overall healthy diet, reduced risks related to heart diseases. 3 In addition, snacking on almonds also reduces belly fat and waist circumference, all well- established heart disease risk factors. 4 Thus, one must embrace a mindful and a healthy diet, which includes handful of nuts like almonds as they are a source of a variety of nutrients and make for a heart healthy snack.
Speaking about the importance of leading a heart-healthy lifestyle, leading Bollywood actress, Soha Ali Khan, said, “I have always been a firm believer that making minute yet healthy changes to one’s lifestyle today contributes to a better tomorrow. Prioritising health over everything is a lesson we have learnt over the last two years, and my family and I swear by it.
With CVD on the rise, adapting a healthier and more active way of life is intrinsic. Include hearthealthy foods, especially handful of nuts like almonds in your daily diet as they are a source of nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, protein, riboflavin, zinc, etc.”
Reiterating the need to include heart healthy foods in the diet, Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head-Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi said,“Knowing what one should consume is extremely important.
Some foods might be more harmful than we think. There are certain foods that are attributed to increased health risks. Identifying and replacing them with healthier alternatives might be tough but is intrinsic to lead a healthy life. One can fine-tune one’s diet and include heart healthy foods including like almonds, green leafy vegetables, whole grains and berries. Regular consumption of almonds may reduce harmful LDL cholesterol levels and help maintain protective HDL cholesterol. Almonds are heart healthy and must be consumed daily.”
Nutritionist, Neha Ranglani mentioned, “While the pandemic induced lockdowns did urge us to reflect on our lifestyle choices, the home isolation wasn’t easy on any of us. Binge watching was accompanied with binge eating, and a more sedentary lifetsyle. This has made it imperative to take stock of our lifestyleand make necessary changes to manage our heart’s health. Heart healthy foods are low in saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium. Foods like Almonds may lower total and LDL cholesterol when included in a healthy diet and reduce levels of heart damaging inflammation. So, don’t stop binge watching but snackon almonds instead of consuming unwholesome snacks. It can make a healthy difference to our lives.”
Adding on the role fitness plays in maintaining heart health, Fitness and Celebrity instructor, Yasmin Karachiwala said, “Regular exercise and an active lifestyle is a way to a healthy heart. Exercise is the best way to release endorphins and dopamine, thereby reducing stress and anxiety. Consult a professional to understand the format of workout of exercise that works for your body and be sure to take out at least 30 minutes. Staycommitted to an active lifestyle and include healthy and energy boosting snacks like almonds which have great nutritional properties and also promote feeling of satiation”
Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Sheela Krishnaswamy mentioned, “There’s a rise in CVD cases amongst youngsters. CVD risk factors such as abdominal obesity, hypertension and diabetes are higher amongst Indians, even at younger ages, than among other ethnic groups (8) There is a strong need to address this and adapt to a healthier way of living.
While staying active and working out is required, changing dietary habits is needed to stay healthy intrinsic. It is important to know what you are eating and their impact on the body. Replace foods that are high in cholesterol, sodium, fat andsugar, with heart healthy options. Including almonds as part of a healthy diet may help in lowering risk factors for CVD among Indians by keeping in control dyslipidaemia, a condition marked by high LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels and low HDL Cholesterol levels.”