‘Healthy lifestyle’ – a common phrase that has come under a lot of scrutiny over the years, with some of us checking our calorie count with each meal we consume, and most of us struggling to achieve it. We aim for but are never able to. Despite the alarming facts that reveal the pitiable state of heart health of the Indian population, and India accounts for nearly 60 per cent of the world’s heart diseases, it becomes an important consideration.
We know that high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or obesity can have negative effects on our health. These may be due to our poor lifestyle choices. Our sedentary lifestyle has led to reduced levels of physical activity, lack of moderation and imbalance in our food habits as well as high consumption of processed foods high in refined sugar, salt, and saturated and trans-fats. consumption is included. , The key to reducing health risks isn’t as hard as you might think. Starting small and adopting simple diet and lifestyle changes can help maintain overall heart health.
Choose granola bars over Indian sweets
We Indians are sweet eaters and crave for something sweet with our meals, but most of the time we end up consuming desserts with excessive amounts of sugar. Excess intake of sugar over a long period of time leads to accumulation in the body in the form of fat, which leads to weight gain. Even though sugar is a part of our regular diet, one must keep in mind the consumption pattern and portion size and go for a snack that is ideal.
Granola bars are a quick snack for those who need a power boost, but make sure you use sugar in moderation. Homemade granola bars can be made at home with oats, berries, edible seeds and dried fruits that are high sources of fiber and protein. Soluble fiber helps in reducing the level of LDL ie bad cholesterol and blood pressure which will keep your heart healthy.
replace fruit juice with whole fruit
Consuming whole fruits in the morning helps in better absorption of vitamins from fruits. However, people choose the convenient option and consume fruit juices. Natural and canned fruit juices are concentrated sources of sugar without the benefit of fiber. Hence, it is advised to include whole fruits as a part of your breakfast, which contain nutrients like fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Seasonal fruit can be a good way to include fruit in your breakfast every day.
Choose blended oil instead of single seed oil
Our daily cooking requires oil in almost all our meals, so choosing the right oil is an easy change for overall health. Although single-seed oils such as peanut, soybean, canola, etc. offer health benefits, they are not sufficient to provide the right balance of fatty acids recommended in our diets.
A healthier switch would be to opt for multi-source oils, also known as blended oils. Mixed oils with antioxidants have many benefits such as providing nutrition from fats and improving immunity. It is prepared by mixing two or more oils to get the benefits of two oils in one. They are scientifically blended to provide a good balance of MUFAs and PUFAs that help manage cholesterol.
Choosing a blended oil like Saffola Gold Blended Oil as a part of your daily diet can help in keeping your heart healthy. It contains natural anti-oxidants which help in boosting immunity and gives you the benefits of oryzanol which helps in lowering your cholesterol. Additionally, it has Losorb technology which helps it absorb less amount of oil while frying as compared to other cooking oils. This oil is a blend of rice bran oil which is rich in MUFA and sunflower oil which is rich in PUFA; Hence, giving you a good balance of MUFA and PUFA, which is beneficial for your heart health.
Snack foods low in sodium and saturated fat
The American Heart Association and the Indian Council of Medical Research recommend that the ideal consumption of sodium should not exceed 2000 mg a day. Processed foods like chips, crackers or white bread as an evening snack have become a norm among adults these days and these foods are usually high in sodium and saturated fat. It is important to check nutrition labels before purchasing processed foods to assess the amount of sodium and saturated fat you are consuming. You can also opt for a healthy switch and have fruits, sprouts, oats, curd, or millet-based foods for snacks.
Replace fast food with healthy alternatives
Working professionals leading a sedentary lifestyle depend on fast food to satisfy their hunger pangs. Fast food can contain high amounts of saturated fat, refined sugar and sodium, which increase the chances of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol imbalance.
To combat this, a simple habit of eating healthier options like hummus wrap, savory porridge, and bajra dosa can be enjoyed. Chickpeas, oats, millet flour and vegetables are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber that improve your good gut bacteria and have a low glycemic index that helps control blood sugar levels. Leafy vegetables like spinach, cabbage, fenugreek leaves, kale and collard greens are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals that promote overall health and heart health.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can seem overwhelming, especially with all the information available. However, breaking down your health goals and making simple, easy changes to your daily habits can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.