A Hearty Snack for a Healthier Heart says Shreya Goel

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AlmondsNewZNew (Chandigarh/Health) : Institutionalised by the World Heart Federation, World Heart Day, celebrated on September 29, 2015,puts cardio vascular disease and its risk factors on the global health agenda.

downloadThe dire situation of cardiovascular disease penetration in the country calls for immediate action. At an individual level, improving yourdiet quality by making heart healthy food choices and incorporating nuts like almonds in your daily diet can be a simple step toward maintaining a healthier heart.

A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition compared the effects of eating almonds vs. muffins on measures of cardiovascular risk over the course of four weeks. Both diet groups incorporated the almonds or muffins into a standard, heart-healthy diet plan. The study found that participants who ate almonds in place of muffins as part of a heart-healthy diet significantly improved certain factors associated with heart disease risk. Researchers estimated that for every 30 grams increase (approximately 1 serving) of almonds consumed daily during the study, participants’ estimated 10-year coronary heart disease (CHD) risk score was reduced by 3.5%.

Chandigarh based nutritionist Shreya Goel, adds, “It is necessary to follow a balanced diet in order to maintain a healthy heart. Avoid ingunhealthy snacks and excessive fried food, in addition to developing smart snacking habits is highly recommended. Almonds are a healthy alternative for those unwholesome snacks. Since these nuts are tasty and crunchy, they also satisfy the sensory cravings along with adding important nutrients like: vitamin E, protein, riboflavin, fiber etc., to your diet.”

heart-healthIn fact, another earlier study found that eating a diet with roughly 20% of calories from almonds significantly reduced total and LDL cholesterol while improving serum levels of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), an important antioxidant.

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A great start to counter cardiovascular diseases would be to choose a lifestyle that is easy on our hearts. Habits such as exercising and cutting down on excessive and unhealthy food can reduce the risk of heart disease.Nutritionist Shreya gives us a few rules to follow for a ‘two-thumbs-up’ on a healthy heart:

Rule No. 1: Step it up!

Physical activity is crucial to maintain a healthy heart. Regular exercise along with other activities like walking, cyclingor even taking out time to play your favourite sport will go a long way for your heart. Even while you are busy with daily chores, the amount of one’s daily physical activity can be increased by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or taking walks with your friends/colleagues instead of sitting at a coffee shop. Simply taking more steps in a day can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Rule No. 2: Diet – Check

Keeping a check of one’s eating habits and consuming a balanced diet can help prevent heart disease. Avoid diets high in saturated and trans fat, sugar and salt. Replace unwholesome snacks with heart-healthy almonds which have protein, vitamin E, riboflavin, fiber and many other important nutrients to make a healthy difference to our life

Rule No. 3: Smoke Free

Globally, 10% of all cardiovascular deaths are attributable to tobacco use. In non-smokers, especially women, second hand smoke exposure substantially increases the risk of cardiovascular disease; reducing second hand smoke exposure rapidly lowers the incidence of heart attack.

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This World Heart Day, take these small steps to protect your heart from cardiovascular diseases, by keeping these rules in mind.

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