The heart is a muscular organ about the size of a fist, located just behind and slightly left of the breastbone. The heart pumps blood through the network of arteries and veins called the cardiovascular system.
Your heart is working 24 hours for you. It is one of the the most important muscle in your body because it pumps blood and oxygen to all of your organs. The heart is divided into two halves – the right-hand side and the left-hand side. The right-hand side of the heart is responsible for pumping deoxygenated blood to the lungs. The left-hand side pumps oxygenated blood around the body. In humans, other mammals, and birds, the heart is divided into four chambers: upper left and right atria and lower left and right ventricles. Commonly the right atrium and ventricle are referred together as the right heart and their left counterparts as the left heart. In a healthy heart blood flows one way through the heart due to heart valves, which prevent backflow. The heart is enclosed in a protective sac, the pericardium, which also contains a small amount of fluid. The wall of the heart is made up of three layers: epicardium, myocardium, and endocardium.
Main Functions Of Heart
Pumping oxygenated blood to the other body parts.
Pumping hormones and other vital substances to different parts of the body.
Receiving deoxygenated blood and carrying metabolic waste products from the body and pumping it to the lungs for oxygenation.
Maintaining blood pressure.
Causes Of Heart Damage
When your heart doesn’t get the care it needs, serious problems can develop, which then lead to plaque formation. Plaque is what leads to heart attacks and blockage of blood flow in the arteries. High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking are main risk factors for heart disease. Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including: Diabetes, Overweight and obesity.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body makes and you also get from food. It allows your body to make vitamin D and certain hormones, including estrogen in women and testosterone in men, and helps with digestion.
There are two types of cholesterol – High-density lipoprotein or HDL, often called good cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein or LDL, often called bad cholesterol.
Bad cholesterol can contribute to artery-clogging plaque. Good cholesterol, on the other hand, helps remove plaque. In the end, it helps protect you from getting heart disease. Having too much of the bad, or not enough of the good, can lead to heart disease.
High blood pressure or hypertension, means when the force of blood against the walls of your arteries is high can lead to heart problem.
Without treatment, high blood pressure can damage your arteries, heart, kidneys, and other organs. It can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. It can also cause vision and memory loss. Blood pressure chart as follows –
Normal Less than 120/less than 80
At risk for high blood pressure 120-129/less than 80
High blood pressure 130/80 or higher
Few Steps To Have Healthy Heart
Eat healthy – Your meals should be mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish, and nuts, pulses. Eating a heart-healthy diet can help you lose weight, which may help lower your cholesterol.
Heart – friendly activities like walking, cycling, and swimming, jogging, exercise, meditation should get your time.
Quit smoking. Avoid being passive smoker also. Even if you don’t smoke, being around it can raise your risk of heart disease.
Healthy Foods For Having Fit And Fine Heart
Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, lettuce and collard greens are well-known for their high storage of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are great source of vitamin K, which helps protect your arteries and promote proper blood clotting . They’re also high in dietary nitrates, which have been shown to reduce blood pressure, decrease arterial stiffness and improve the function of cells lining the blood vessels.
Whole grains include all three nutrient-rich parts of the grain: germ, endosperm and bran.
Common types of whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat and quinoa.
Compared to refined grains, whole grains are higher in fiber, which may help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease .
A study found that eating at least three servings of whole grains significantly decreased systolic blood pressure by 6 mmHg, which is enough to reduce the risk of stroke .
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are packed with important nutrients that play a central role in heart health. They are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins, which protect against the oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to the development of heart disease .
Studies show that eating lots of berries can reduce several risk factors for heart disease.
For example, one study in few adults with metabolic syndrome showed that drinking a beverage made of strawberries for few weeks decreased “bad” LDL cholesterol by 11% .
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions associated with a higher risk of heart disease.
Another study found that eating blueberries daily improved the function of cells that line the blood vessels, which help control blood pressure and blood clotting .
Avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to reduced levels of cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease .
One study looked at the effects of three cholesterol-lowering diets in 45 overweight and obese people, with one of the test groups consuming one avocado per day. The avocado group experienced reductions in “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Avocados are also rich in potassium, a nutrient that’s essential to heart health. In fact, just one avocado supplies 975 milligrams of potassium, or about 28% of the amount that you need in a day .
Fatty Fish and Fish Oil
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been studied extensively for their heart-health benefits.
One study showed, eating salmon three times a week for eight weeks significantly decreased diastolic blood pressure. Another study showed that eating fish over the long term was linked to lower levels of total cholesterol, blood triglycerides, fasting blood sugar and systolic blood pressure.
If you don’t eat much seafood, fish oil is another option for getting your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce blood triglycerides, improve arterial function and decrease blood pressure.
Walnuts are a great source of fiber and micronutrients like magnesium, copper and manganese.
Research shows that incorporating a few servings of walnuts in your diet can help protect against heart disease.
Beans contain resistant starch, which resists digestion and is fermented by the beneficial bacteria in your gut . Resistant starch can improve heart health by decreasing blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol . Beans
been shown to reduce levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, lower blood
pressure and decrease inflammation.
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, which can help boost heart health.
Interestingly, several studies have associated eating chocolate with a lower risk of heart disease.
One large study showed that those who ate chocolate at least five times per week had a 57% lower risk of coronary heart disease than non-chocolate eaters .
Another study found that eating chocolate at least twice per week was associated with a 32% lower risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries .
Keep in mind that these studies show an association but don’t necessarily account for other factors that may be involved. Additionally, chocolate can be high in sugar and calories, which can destroy many of its health-promoting properties.
Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, a natural plant pigment with powerful antioxidant properties. Low levels of lycopene are linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. One study showed that a high intake of foods rich in lycopene was associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
Almonds are incredibly nutrient-dense, boasting a long list of vitamins and minerals that are crucial to heart health.
They’re also a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber, two important nutrients that can help protect against heart disease.
Remember that while almonds are very high in nutrients, they’re also high in calories. Measure your portions and moderate your intake if you’re trying to lose weight.
Chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds are all great sources of heart-healthy nutrients, including fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Numerous studies have found that adding these types of seeds to your diet can improve many heart disease risk factors, including inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.
For centuries, garlic has been used as a natural remedy to treat a variety of ailments.
In recent years, research has confirmed its potent medicinal properties and found that garlic can even help improve heart health.
This is for the presence of a compound called allicin, which is believed to have a multitude of therapeutic effects . Other studies have found that garlic extract can inhibit platelet buildup, which may reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke .
Try to consume garlic raw, or crush it and let it sit for a few minutes before cooking. This allows for the formation of allicin, maximizing its potential health benefits.
The heart-healthy benefits of olive oil are well documented. Olive oil is packed with antioxidants, which can relieve inflammation and decrease the risk of chronic disease .
Green tea has been associated with a number of health benefits, from increased fat burning to improved insulin sensitivity .
Other Important Ways To Get Healthy Heart
Yoga is a relaxing combination of asanas, breathing techniques, and meditation. Various yoga poses have a particular effect on the respiratory system and therefore, affects the heart. The benefits include:
Improved heart rate
Boost blood circulation.
Yoga is effective in dealing with stress and pressure which can heal a heart patient.
Lower blood pressure.
Increase lung capacity.
Lower bad cholesterol levels.
Yoga, meditation, balanced physical exercises are other keys for having heart in good condition.
Some heart healthy exercises are –
Extended triangle pose. …
Bridge pose. …
Chair pose. …
Head to knee pose. …
Easy pose. …
Supine spinal twist. …
Child’s pose etc.
For a good health and heart not only good food and exercises are enough but when one can keep his own mind clutter free and peaceful …it will be a blessing.