Taking care of your heart. Chat with Heart Specialist.

Reading Time: 8 minutes

One of the greatest benefits of tea is that it gives great cardio benefits to our hearts. Chinese tea, black tea, red tea, oolong, or green tea, all these teas contain a high level of antioxidant and helps with our heart health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in most countries in the world. We can easily lead a better and longer life by taking good care of our heart

Basic rules for taking care of heart

  1. Exercise regularly.
  2. Eating less sugar, less carbohydrate, fewer fatty, or oily food.
  3. Quit smoking and drinking alcohol. (Or at least, reduce)
  4. Drink more tea!

Research by European Journal of Preventative Cardiology has shown that drinking tea three times a week can lead to a longer life and better cardiovascular health.

The secret to tea’s cardio benefits is polyphenols.

Tea has polyphenol- benefits heart health

Polyphenols are organic chemicals that are plentiful in black and green tea. They are derived from plants, especially flowering plants, and have great cardiovascular benefits.

Chinese Oolong black tea

Tea polyphenols improve blood vessels with less dilating and constriction to blood movement. It also increases good cholesterol, which aids in heart protection. Tea polyphenols also help to improve situations of inflammation and reduce the stickiness of blood platelets and clotting.

Our human bodies are unable to retain polyphenols for long time, and tend to flush or breaks it down. Hence, people who drink tea regularly will have more polyphenols in his/her body and gains the improvement of cardio health.

This is why experts suggest to drink tea (black or green) three times a week or more to reap cardio improvement.

Of course tea is not a miraculous cure-all drink- do pair it with exercising, healthier food portion, and smoking cessation (or reduction).

 

Hearty chat with Heart Specialist- Dr. Devi Shetty, Narayana Hrudayalaya (Famous Heart Specialist)

We have a chat with Dr. Devi Shetty, Narayana Hrudayalaya (Famous Heart Specialist) Bangalore. Dr. Devi is the doctor for Mother Theresa and it was Mother Theresa that inspired Dr. Devi to do more for cardio health.

We have the chat transcript below, with minor editing.


Qn1. What are the thumb rules for a layman to take care of his heart?
Ans:
1. Diet – Less of carbohydrate, more of protein, less oil.
2. Exercise – Half an hour’s walk, at least five days a week.
3. Quit smoking.
4. Control weight.
5. Control BP – Blood pressure and Sugar

Qn2. Can we convert fat into muscles?
Ans: It is a dangerous myth. Fat and muscles are made of two different tissues, fat is fat … Ugly and harmful… Muscle is muscle. Fat can never be converted into a muscle. 

Qn3. It’s still a grave shock to hear that some apparently healthy person gets a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?
Ans: This is called a silent attack; that is why we recommend everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.

Qn4. Are heart diseases hereditary?
Ans: Yes

Qn5. What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?
Ans: Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in everything in life.

Stay calm, reduce stress for a better heart and healthier life
Stay calm, reduce stress for a better heart and healthier life


Qn6. Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise required to keep a healthy heart?
Ans: Walking is better than jogging, since jogging leads to early fatigue and injury to joints.

Qn7. You have done so much for the poor and needy. What has inspired you to do so?
Ans: Mother Theresa, who was my patient.

Qn8. Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?
Ans: Extremely rare.

Qn9. Does cholesterol accumulate right from an early age (I’m currently only 22) or do you have to worry about it only after you are above 30 years of age?
Ans: Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.

Qn10. How do irregular eating habits affect the heart ?
Ans: You tend to eat junk food when the habits are irregular and your body’s enzyme release for digestion gets confused.

Qn11. How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?
Ans: Control diet, walk and eat walnut.

Qn12. Which is the best and worst food for the heart?
Ans: Fruits and vegetables are the best and oil is the worst.

Qn13. Which oil is better – groundnut, sunflower, olive?
Ans: All oils are bad.

Qn14. What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there any specific test?
Ans: Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok. Check BP, Treadmill test after an echo.

Qn15. What are the first aid steps to be taken on a heart attack?
Ans: Help the person into a sleeping position, place an aspirin tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and rush him to a coronary care unit, since the maximum casualty takes place within the first hour.

Qn16. How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and that caused due to gastric trouble?
Ans: Extremely difficult without ECG.


Qn17. What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems amongst youngsters? I see people of about 30-40 yrs of age having heart attacks and serious heart problems.
Ans: Increased awareness has increased incidents. Also, sedentary lifestyles, smoking, junk food, lack of exercise in a country where people are genetically three times more vulnerable for heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.

Qn18. Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?
Ans: Yes.


Qn19. Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems for the child. Is it true?
Ans : Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities.


Qn20. Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times we have to stay late nights in office. Does this affect our heart? What precautions would you recommend?
Ans : When you are young, nature protects you against all these irregularities. However, as yougrow older, respect the biological clock.

Qn21. Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other complications (short/long term)?
Ans : Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.

Qn22. Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?
Ans: No.

Qn23. Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?
Ans: No.


Qn24. How would you define junk food?
Ans: Fried food like Kentucky, McDonald’s, Samosas, and even Masala Dosas.

Qn25. You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable. What is the reason for this, as Europeans and Americans also eat a lot of junk food?
Ans: Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately, Indians are vulnerable to this most expensive disease (cardio disease).

Qn26. Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?
Ans: No.

Qn27. Can a person help himself during a heart attack (Because we see a lot of forwarded e-mails on this)?
Ans: Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the nearest coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for the ambulance since most of the time, the ambulance does not turn up.


Qn28. Do, in any way, low white blood cells and low hemoglobin count lead to heart problems?
Ans: No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to increase your exercise capacity.


Qn29. Sometimes, due to the hectic schedule we are not able to exercise. So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing the stairs in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?
Ans : Certainly. Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour and even the act of getting out of the chair and going to another chair and sitting helps a lot.


Qn30. Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?
Ans: Yes. A strong relationship since diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.


Qn31. What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?
Ans : Diet, exercise, drugs on time , Control cholesterol, BP, weight.


Qn32. Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease when compared to day shift workers?
Ans : No.


Qn33. What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?
Ans: There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the right combination for your problem, but my suggestion is to avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of controlling blood pressure by walk, diet to reduce weight and changing attitudes towards lifestyles.


Qn34. Does dispirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart attacks?
Ans : No.


Qn35. Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?
Ans: Nature protects women till the age of 45. (Present Global census show that the Percentage of heart disease in women has increased than in men).


Qn36. How can one keep the heart in a good condition?
Ans: Eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, exercise every day, do not smoke and, go for health checkups if you are past the age of 30 ( once in six months recommended)… 

7 Cardio Health Steps

The health of your heart is very important to a long, good and healthy lifespan. Here are 7 healthy steps you can do now.

  1. Exercising
  2. Eating well
  3. Stop smoking
  4. Stop drinking alcohol
  5. Reduce stress
  6. Stop sitting in a chair for more than half an hour
  7. Drink more black or green tea
Smile and relax for a less stress life
Smile and relax for a less stress life

Exercise

Start exercising regularly, at least 30 minutes per session and 3 times a week. You don’t have to go all-out run or swim like an athletic. It can a good stroll around your home or just standing up and job on the spot while watching TV or youtube.

Eating Well

Eating well has great benefits for good blood pressure, good cholesterol, healthy weight management, and reduced intake of sugar and carbohydrates. All these factors help in providing good cardio and general health!

  • have lots of vegetables and fruits
  • eat nuts, seeds and food with high fiber
  • consume less oily and fatty food
  • cut down on sugar, especially sugary drinks, and junk food.
  • eat less red meat and less processed food
  • reduce your meal portion gradually if you are trying to reduce weight.
  • eat fewer carbohydrates (less potato, bread rice, etc), substitute with more vegetables to feel full.

Stop smoking

Every cigarette reduces your lifespan by an average of 5mins. Smoking causes great cardio distress and is a leading cause of heart disease. If you can only do 1 thing, stop smoking is the greatest benefit you can do for your lifespan today.

I stopped smoking in a heartbeat when a wise man shared with me this, “Smoking is the most selfish thing you can do to your family”

  1. secondhand smoke does linger and affect people who are nearby even after you are done smoking
  2. smoke particulars cling on to your clothes and affect people who hang around you later – Your FAMILY is most affected.
  3. “Third-hand Smoke” affects our family the most- chemical residual of tobacco smoke contamination that sticks to our clothes, skin, hair, our car, wall, furniture, and etc even after you stopped smoking. Cigarette and nicotine residues from a smoker’s body and clothes continue to poison people around us.

Stop drinking alcohol

Beer, wine, hard liquor, etc all these are terrible for your heart. If you are unable to stop drinking, at least reduce to less than 1 beer or 1 glass of wine per day.

Reduce Stress

Stress causes many heart attacks. No one on their deathbed ever wished that they had spent more time working.

Try to take a lighter approach to work, and do not strive for perfection at work nor at life.

Do not sit for more than 30 minutes

Stand up every 20 minutes or so to stretch. Take the opportuntiy to walk to the bathroom for a break, or fetch yourself a nice cup of hot tea.

If you are driving for a long time, take every opportunity to get out of the car and walk around. Even a mere 1 minute of break away from sitting helps.

Sitting still in a chair for prolong period is very bad for blood circulation and for your general health.

Drink more tea (black, green)

Drink more tea to get more polyphenols for your blood and hearth condition. A nice warm cut of black or green tea will do wonder to improve your productivity and your mood. You can go for iced black or green tea too if you prefer a nice cold beverage.

Just remember to skip the sugar!

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