“Man dies of heart attack while performing dance on stage in Jammu” headlines a recent Times of India news article. The 20-year-old man who was dressed up as Goddess Parvati suffered a heart attack in the middle of his performance and lay dead on the stage, as the audience assumed it was a part of the play. Shocking, isn’t it?
The issue that once plagued the elderly has now become prevalent among the younger population. According to the Indian Heart Association, Indian men under 40 contribute to 25% of all heart attacks. Why are seemingly fit, invincible young people, falling prey to heart attacks?
Let’s break it down.
5 causes of heart attack among young people
- High-fat diet – It leads to fatty deposits in arteries, which eventually slow down or block the blood flow to your heart.
- COVID – Even the mildest case of COVID-19 increases the risk of cardiovascular problems for up to a year.
- Sitting disease – Due to a sedentary lifestyle and excessive stress, clots may form near already-formed blockages, leading to an ugly episode.
- Workout-obsessed generation – Young people often indulge in high-intensity workouts without proper pre-cardiac checkups. It leads to the thickening of heart muscles and cardiac arrest.
- As such, Indians have narrower blood vessels than their western counterparts, resulting in increased pressure on the cardiovascular system and a higher possibility of heart disease.
In addition, diabetes, high blood pressure, overweight & obesity, excessive smoking, and genetic factors cause cardiac arrest. The big question is, what can you do to maintain heart health?
A heart-healthy diet that is low in calories and high in nutrients helps you prevent cardiovascular diseases. Here’s what you can do.
Measure and control your portion
Eating mindlessly, helping you with second or third servings, emptying an entire pack of potato chips or fried junk while binge-watching, or consuming too many sugary drinks can add to your calories and accumulate in your body as stored fat. Always check food labels for nutritional information and follow the 20-minute rule (wait for 20 minutes before you go for a second).
Eat more veggies, fruits, and nuts
Every fruit and vegetable has unique health benefits and is heart-healthy. According to Healthline, intake of green leafy vegetables can reduce the incidence of heart disease by 16%.
Green leafy vegetables, avocadoes, walnuts, apples, tomatoes, carrots, garlic & onion are rich in antioxidants, dietary nitrates, vitamins, and minerals. Berries make for a healthy snack that’s both delicious and low on calories.
Stick to whole grains for fibre
Recent research reports that eating whole grains regularly reduces heart disease by 30%.
Whole grains like whole wheat, brown rice, barley, quinoa, and oats are rich in fibre and make you feel full even when consumed in moderate quantities. They help maintain body weight, which is the best thing you can do for your heart.
Tame your salt habit
According to the CDC, a leaf of lettuce contains 2 mg of sodium, a slice of tomato contains 1 mg of sodium, a slice of processed cheese has 310 mg of sodium and the top slice of bread has 200 mg of sodium.
No wonder bread, pizzas, processed food, cold cuts & salami, savoury snacks, canned soups, and pickles are high in salt. A heavy sodium diet results in higher than recommended levels of salt in the body and results in hypertension, the leading reason for heart attack and stroke.
Though an occasional pizza, sugary drink, or handful of Cheetos won’t do much harm, ensure your cheat meal does not deviate you from leading a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Additionally, it is essential to take a master health check up in Chennai or nearby to learn more about your body and detect any early signs of chronic disease that can be treated accordingly