Every year, World Heart Day is celebrated on 29th September, to raise awareness around cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and how they can be prevented. World Heart Day is a reminder for people across the world to stop and assess lifestyle choices for them and their family, while acknowledging the need to take strict steps to ensure the safety of their health against this morbid disease.
Research has suggested that due to the 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 accustom to this new sense of normal, taking care of our health is more important than anything now. The first step in achieving better heart health is by making heart-healthy food choices. Adding a handful of nuts like almonds to your family and your daily diet is a good starting point, as they contain a host of nutrients, make for a healthy snacking option and can also help add to your heart health.
Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, emphasized on the need to eat right. She said, “Heart health should be a continued area of focus for individuals with an emphasis on making proactive, long-term lifestyle changes. To keep your heart healthy, it’s important to keep your weight under check, among other things. A 2015 study showed that snacking on 42 grams of almonds, on a daily basis, reduced the central adiposity (belly fat) and waist circumference that are well-established heart disease risk factors . The study also suggests that regular snacking on almonds helps in significantly lowering LDL cholesterol. Almonds are a great snacking option as they are a good source of protein and fibre that promote feeling of fullness and also help in managing weight.”
With heightened levels of stress that people across India and the world are experiencing right now, snacking is at an all-time high. According to Ritika Samaddar, the Regional Head-Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi, “Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for 28% of all deaths in India, more than any other cause. As people across India adapt to this new sense of normal, and many are also experiencing high levels of stress – which is a key CVD risk factor. Many clinical studies amongst Indian populations specifically suggest that almonds can be beneficial in helping to manage heart disease risk factors. In addition, according to a recent UK study, participants who had been replacing typical snacks with almonds saw improved measures of Heart Rate Variability in response to mental stress, which is a key indicator of optimal cardiac health and function. So be sure to include a daily dose of almonds to your diet, to aid in a stronger and healthier heart.”
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 includes eating a variety of foods, moderating the intake of certain foods and drinks, and controlling the amount of food and calories that are consumed. A balanced diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as by helping in weight loss.
Madhuri Ruia, Pilates Expert, and Diet & Nutrition Consultant, said “Overeating, lack of exercise, unhealthy snacking habits are a few factors that can contribute to heart diseases. Past research indicates that almonds can be beneficial in helping to manage certain heart disease risk factors. A recent study also highlighted that the inclusion of 45 gms of almonds as part of a healthy diet may help in reducing dyslipidemia, a condition marked by high LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels and low HDL cholesterol levels, which is known to be one of the most important risk factors for CVD among Indians. Thus, at an individual level, incorporating small changes in our lives like working out regularly, and switching to healthy snacking habits like eating a handful of almonds every day instead of unwholesome snacks, can be simple steps towards maintaining a healthier heart.”
So this World Heart Day let’s pledge to be healthier with the goodness of almonds!