Just like other muscles in the body, the heart muscle can also be strengthened and toned. Similar to other parts of the body, the heart can also be kept fit and healthy through judicious use of diet and exercise. Adopting a good lifestyle regimen can not only prevent heart disease but can also reverse it in many cases.
In fact it has been scientifically proved that the heart has adult stem cells and has regenerative capabilities. In young adults about 1% of heart tissue is renewed every year and this tapers off to about 0.5% with advanced age. This is very encouraging as it would point to the fact that with care and natural methods, the heart can be healed and strengthened with its own regenerative properties.
Embarking on a health plan for the heart also entails first getting rid of activities and foods that are harmful for it.
Health plan for the heart
Eat as healthily as possible. This includes only eating unprocessed foods. Use grains like brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, bulgar and teff. Consume vegetables raw, steamed or very lightly sauteed. Eat beans, legumes and pulses. Avoid packaged and canned foods. These generally contain very high quantities of sugar and salt. Include herbs and spices such as Garlic, Turmeric, Arjuna and Guggul which contain heart healthy nutrients.
- Stop smoking
- Stop drinking
- Stop or drastically reduce consumption of fatty foods, fried foods, sugary foods and processed foods
- Limit consumption of salt
- Take measures to cut stress and worry.
Exercise daily or at least 3-4 times a week. Start with gentle stretching exercises like yoga, pilates, tai-chi. Any action gets your heart working so it is not necessary to start with an intense exercise regimen.
If you were largely inactive before, you can build up stamina by walking half an hour every day. Climb a few stairs, do some housework. As you increase your capacity for exercise, try aerobic exercises. These help to better utilize oxygen and strengthen your heart. If you have any heart problems you must consult with your doctor to check which exercises are best for you. Avoid any sudden jerky movement.
Get adequate sleep and relaxation. Sleep helps to replenish and rejuvenate body cells.
Get plenty of sunshine. This not only gives you vitamin D but also removes depression.
A happy heart is a healthy heart. Engage in activities that keep you enthused and joyful.