Every year September is observed as the Nutrition Month aka ‘Poshan Maah’. The sole objective of celebrating Nutrition Month is to raise public awareness of vital indicators of nourishment, well-being and prosperity. The nutrition month is a reminder for people across the world to pause and assess lifestyle choices for themselves and their families while acknowledging the need to take strict steps to ensure the safety of their health.
Research studies have suggested that due to their inherent genetic makeup Indians are more vulnerable to heart diseases. Thus, with cardiovascular diseases becoming a serious health concern amongst many Indian households, dietary and lifestyle modifications can play an important role in bringing about a change and reducing risk factors for better heart health. As people across the world adapt their lifestyles to accustomed to this new sense of normal, taking care of health for people is more important than anything now. The first step in achieving better heart health is by making heart-healthy food choices.
Eating a well-balanced diet offers one of the simplest, most effective ways of reducing not only the risk of heart disease but addressing other health concerns as well. A nutritious diet is the one that maintains or improves overall health. This includes eating a variety of nutrition rich foods, moderating their intake which results in controlling the number of calories that are consumed. A balanced and nutritious rich diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels.
Here are top three heart healthy foods that one should include in their diet to maximize their heart health:
Adding a handful of almonds to one’s daily diet is a good starting point, as they contain a host of nutrients, that make for a healthy snacking option and can also help add to people’s heart health. Almonds are a source of 14 essential nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, protein, riboflavin, zinc, etc. Research also suggests that regular consumption of almonds can effectively help in reducing LDL and total cholesterol, which will add to one’s heart health over time. Additionally, research done on Almonds and Cardiovascular Health suggests that daily inclusion of almonds as part of a healthy diet may help reduce dyslipidemia, one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease among Indians. Snacking on almonds instead of consuming unwholesome snacks, can make a healthy difference to one’s lives. One should mix almonds with their favourite flavours to create healthy, and yet tasty snacks preferred by their family
Millets are rich in proteins, minerals, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins. According to a research study, the millets may cut down the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases by reducing total cholesterol by 8%. Wheat and rice may be amongst the most consumed grains, however millets (such as pearl millet (bajra), foxtail millet (kangni), sorghum (jowar), finger millet (ragi), etc), are amongst the healthiest of grains available today in India. The easiest way to include millets in one’s diet is by making idlis. This can be done by substituting rice with ragi – it’s a nutritious meal which is guaranteed to keep one full for longer, while satiating their cravings.
Berries tend to have a good nutritional profile. They are typically high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidant polyphenols. As a result, incorporating berries into one’s diet may help prevent and reduce symptoms of many chronic diseases. Additionally, one should use locally produced berries such as Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Mulberry etc as they are a good source of polyphenols, especially anthocyanins, micronutrients, and fiber. According to the research studies, berries have been constituents with improved cardiovascular risk profiles. Human intervention studies using a variety of berries have demonstrated significant improvements in LDL oxidation, lipid peroxidation, total plasma antioxidant capacity, dyslipidemia, and glucose metabolism.