Many young people are dying today of heart attacks and strokes. And these people aren’t necessarily unhealthy. Health coach Luke Coutinho recently when live on Facebook to talk about why many young people are dying of sudden heart attacks and strokes. When it comes to heart attacks, cholesterol is given the main importance.
Many people are under the impression that high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are the reason behind their heart attack. The reason behind heart attack is also a poor lifestyle. There are multiple factors in our lifestyle which can contribute to heart attack. This is includes the amount of sleep we get on a daily basis, the food we eat, how much exercise we do, and much more.
Inflammation and oxidative damage
According to Luke, the main reasons behind heart attacks is inflammation and oxidative damage in the heart, blood vessels, endothelial lining, arteries, etc. He stresses on the fact that heart attacks cannot always be blamed on cholesterol levels. While maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is important for the body, there are other reasons for heart attacks and stroke as well.
Inflammation and oxidative damage is caused by the free radicals from the food that we eat, the air that we breathe and several lifestyle choices that we make.
1. Industrial oil
Luke draws attention towards the refined oil market and talks about how they are a contributing factor to increased cases of heart attacks. Refined vegetables oils are rich in omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 6 is detrimental to health as it causes inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. Luke says that choosing the right kind of oil is extremely important for heart health. It is also important to focus on the right quantity of refined oil in case healthy varieties of oil like mustard oil, groundnut oil or ghee are not available in your vicinity.
2. Processed and packaged food
Processed and packaged foods too are contributing to increased rates of heart attacks and stroke. This is again because this packaged and processed food is made with low-grade refined oil which increases inflammation and oxidative damage in the body. Eating out foods in restaurants is not bad, if done once in a while. But making it a regular affair can be really unhealthy for the body in the long run.
3. Consume more saturated fats
Saturated fats are present in desi ghee, coconut oil, egg yolks and nuts. All these are good fats or essential fatty acids which are good for heart health. Consuming nuts like peanuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios on a regular basis can be good for heart health. The American Heart Association has admitted that saturated fats are not the cause behind heart attacks. Consuming these saturated fats in moderation is going to help in preventing risks of heart attacks.
4. Be careful of sugar and carbohydrates
In order to prevent heart attacks, people need to be careful about their intake of sugar and carbs. Both of them can contribute to inflammation and an increased risk of heart attack. Sugar and simple carbs contribute to a spike in blood sugar levels and thus increase risk of heart attack. However, there are good carbs and bad carbs. Complex carbs like dosas, idlis, rotis, rice, etc are all healthy carbs and can be included in your diet for good health and preventing risk of heart attack. People who give up on these complex carbs end up being deficient in Vitamin K2 – which can result in calcification of arteries.
5. Consume omega 3 fatty acid
Omega 3 fatty acid is an important and extremely healthy fatty acid for the heart. It is available in fatty fish, flax seeds, walnuts and basil seed to name a few. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acid is important to cut down your risk of heart disease.
6. Sedentary lifestyle
People who live a sedentary lifestyle are most prone to risks of heart attacks. Luke says that sitting excessively is like smoking. The human body has not been designed to sit. Working out for 1 hour in the gym and sitting throughout the day is known as being sedentary active. People should make sure they are active throughout the day. Risks of heart attacks are more in people who live a sedentary lifestyle.
7. Quit smoking
Everyone is aware of the health hazards of smoking. While everyone makes their choice when it comes to smoking, the passive smokers are at risks of heart attacks. Smoking contributes to both inflammation and oxidative damage in the body.
Using the right kind of salt is also important for preventing risks of heart attacks. Refined varieties of salt can create inflammation in the body. You can opt for switching to pink or rock salt, but make sure that is done under complete medical supervision.
Taking less stress is an important aspect of preventing heart attacks. Everyone is living a stressful life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you let it affect your health. Indulge in activities that make you feel better and positive. Meditate, exercise, do yoga. Change your attitude towards stress in order to prevent risks of heart attacks.
10. Lack of sleep
Believe it or not, lack of sleep can do much more to your body than you ever thought it would do. And yes, it can increase your risks of heart attack. No matter what, never sacrifice on your sleep. Work towards achieving success by maintaining your health. Sleeping is important for heart health because when you sleep, the heart gets a break and works lesser. The heart is a muscle and it needs recovery. Sleeping less creates hormonal turmoil in the body the next day. Lack of sleep also increases your insulin resistance, thus making you more prone to type 2 diabetes.Courtesy NDTV
Cutting 300 calories in healthy adults known to improve heart health
If you think you don’t need to cut calories just because you have a few extra pounds or are healthy, then take note! Even in healthy adults cutting around 300 calories a day significantly improved already good levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and other markers, suggests a study. The study was published in the journal ‘The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology’.
The trial, part of an ongoing project with the National Institutes of Health continues to build on the researchers’ hypothesis that it’s not just weight loss that leads to these improvements, but some more complex metabolic change triggered by eating fewer calories than what’s expended.
“There’s something about caloric restriction, some mechanism we don’t yet understand that results in these improvements. We have collected blood, muscle and other samples from these participants and will continue to explore what this metabolic signal or magic molecule might be,” said William E. Kraus, the study’s lead author.
For the first month of the trial, participants ate three meals a day that would cut one-fourth of their daily calories to help train them on the new diet. Participants were asked to maintain the 25 per cent calorie reduction for two years. Their ability to do that varied, with the average calorie reduction for all participants being about 12 per cent. Still, they were able to sustain a 10 per cent drop in their weight, 71 per cent of which was fat, the study found.
There were numerous improvements in markers that measure the risk of metabolic disease. After two years, participants also showed a reduction in a biomarker that indicates chronic inflammation which has also been linked to heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline.
“This shows that even a modification that is not as severe as what we used in this study could reduce the burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. People can do this fairly easily by simply watching their little indiscretions here and there, or maybe reducing the amount of them, like not snacking after dinner,” said Kraus.
Just 20-minute ‘nature pill’ can lower your stress
Taking just 20 minutes out of your day to stroll or sit near nature will significantly lower your stress hormone levels, a new study suggests.
Healthcare practitioners can use this finding to prescribe ‘nature pills’ to have a real measurable effect, according to researchers from the University of Michigan.
“We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us,” said lead author MaryCarol Hunter from the varsity.
For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, the research team involved 36 participants. Over an eight-week period, they were asked to take a ‘nature pill’ for at least 10 minutes, three times a week.
Levels of cortisol — a stress hormone — were measured from saliva samples taken before and after taking the ‘nature pill’, once every two weeks.
The data revealed that just a 20 minute nature experience was enough to significantly reduce cortisol levels.
And if you take in a little more nature experience – 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking – cortisol levels dropped at their greatest rate, the researchers said.
“Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature,” Hunter noted.
Exercise can help in containing arthritis
A new study has found that degradation of cartilage due to osteoarthritis could be prevented with the help of exercise. The study, published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, demonstrates the benefits of exercise on the tissues that form our joints.
The researchers have shown for the first time how mechanical forces experienced by cells in joints during exercise prevent cartilage degradation by suppressing the action of inflammatory molecules that cause osteoarthritis. During exercise, the cartilage in joints such as the hip and knee is squashed.
This mechanical distortion is detected by the living cells in the cartilage, which then block the action of inflammatory molecules associated with conditions such as arthritis. The researchers showed that this anti-inflammatory effect of physical activity is caused by activation of a particular protein, called HDAC6, which triggers changes in the proteins that form primary cilia.
Pharmaceutical drugs that blocked HDAC6 activation prevented the anti-inflammatory effects of physical activity, while other drug treatments were able to mimic the benefits of exercise. Changes in length of the primary cilia, which are only a few 1000th of a millimetre, provided a biomarker of the level of inflammation.
Cilia got longer during inflammation, but treatments that prevented this elongation successfully prevented inflammation. Su Fu, a PhD student at Queen Mary University of London and study author, said: “We have known for some time that healthy exercise is good for you. Now we know the process through which exercise prevents cartilage degradation.”
Professor Martin Knight, lead researcher of the study added, “These findings may also explain the anti-inflammatory effects of normal blood flow in arteries, which is important for preventing arterial diseases such as atherosclerosis and aneurysm.” The researchers hope that these findings will help in the search for treatments for arthritis. The researchers suggest the results may lead to a whole new therapeutic approach known as “mechanomedicine” in which drugs simulate the effect of mechanical forces to prevent the damaging effects of inflammation and treat conditions such as arthritis.
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