'Healthy lifestyle' a common phrase that has come under much scrutiny over the last couple years, has some of us checking our calorie count with every meal intake, and most of us aiming to achieve it, but never being able to. Despite alarming facts that reveal the sorry state of the Indian population's heart health, and India accounting for approximately 60 per cent of the world's heart diseases, it becomes an important consideration.
We know that hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, or obesity can impact our health negatively. These can be caused by our poor lifestyle choices. Our sedentary lifestyles have led to reduced levels of physical activity, coupled with the lack of moderation and imbalance in our food habits that include excess consumption of processed foods high in refined sugar, salt and high-in fat consisting of saturated and trans-fat. The key to minimising health risks is not as hard as you may think. Starting small and adopting simple dietary and lifestyle changes can help in maintaining overall heart health.
Choose Granola Bars Over Indian Dessert
We Indians have a sweet tooth and crave for something sweet with our meals, but most of the time we go overboard with the consumption of desserts which have excessive amount of sugar. Over consumption of sugar for long period of time accumulates as fat in the body causing weight gain. Even though sugar is part of our regular diet one needs to be mindful about the consumption pattern, portion sizes and should go for a snack which is more ideal.
Granola bars are a quick snack for those who need a power boost but make sure you use low amounts of sugar. Homemade granola bars can be made at home with oats, berries, edible seeds and dry fruits that are high sources of fibre and protein. Soluble fibre helps to reduce LDL levels i.e., bad cholesterol and blood pressure which will keep your heart healthy.
Swap Fruit Juices With Whole Fruits
Consuming whole fruits in the morning helps in better absorption of vitamins from the fruits. However, people choose the convenient option and consume fruit juices.
Natural and canned fruit juices are a concentrated sources of sugars without the benefit of fibre. Hence, it is advisable to include whole fruits as part of your breakfast, which have nutrients like fibre, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Seasonal fruits can be a good way to include fruits in your breakfast every day.
Choose Blended Oils Over Single Seed Oils
Our day-to-day cooking requires oil in almost all our meals, therefore choosing the right oil is a simple change for overall health. Though single seed oils like ground nut, soybean, canola etc. do have health benefits, they are not enough to provide the right balance of fatty acids which are recommended in our diet.
A healthier switch would be opting for multi-source oils, also known as blended oils. Blended oils with antioxidants have multiple benefits like providing nutrition from fats and improving immunity. It is prepared by combining two or more oils into one to obtain benefits of two oils in one. They are scientifically blended to provide good balance of MUFAs and PUFAs that help manage cholesterol.
Choosing a blended oil like Saffola Gold Blended Oil as part of your everyday diet can help in keeping your heart healthy. It has natural antioxidants that help build immunity and gives you benefits of oryzanol that helps lower your cholesterol. Additionally, it has LOSORB technology which helps in absorbing lower quantities of oil during frying compared to other cooking oils. The oil is a blend of Rice Bran Oil which is rich in MUFA and Sunflower Oil which is rich in PUFA; and hence, gives you a good balance of MUFA and PUFA, which is beneficial for your heart health.
Lower Sodium and Saturated Fat Rich Snack Foods
The American Heart Association and Indian Council of Medical Research recommend ideal consumption of sodium to be no more than 2000 mg a day. Processed foods like chips, crackers or white bread as an evening snack has become a norm amongst adults these days and these foods are usually high in sodium and saturated fat. It is important to check nutritional 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 consume foods like fruits, sprouts, oats, yogurt or millet based foods for snacks.
Swap Fast Food With Healthy Alternatives
Working professionals living sedentary lifestyles tend to depend on fast food to satisfy their hunger pangs. Fast food could have excess amounts of saturated fats, refined sugar and sodium, increasing the possibility of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol imbalance.
To counter this, a simple habit of eating healthy alternatives like hummus wrap, savoury oatmeal, and millet dosas can be relished. Chickpeas, oats, millet flour and veggies have great source of plant-based protein and fiber which improves your good gut bacteria and have low glycemic Index that helps to control blood sugar levels. Leafy vegetables like spinach, cabbage, fenugreek leaves, kale and collard greens are high in fibre, vitamins and minerals that promote overall health and heart health.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can seem overwhelming, especially with all the information out there. However, breaking down your health goals and making simple, easy changes to your everyday habits can help achieve a healthy lifestyle. (N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
One in 12 adults or more than 74 million people living in India are diabetes patients, according to a new report from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), ahead of the World Diabetes Day on Saturday.
The figure is the second highest in the world after China, which has 141 million people living with diabetes.
The findings are from the 10th edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas to be published on December 6.
The report added that another 40 million adults in India have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), placing them at high risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, while more than half (53.1 per cent) of people living with diabetes in India are also undiagnosed.
"The increasing number of people living with diabetes and at risk of developing the condition in India confirms diabetes as a significant challenge to the health and well-being of individuals and families in the country," said Professor Shashank Joshi, Chair, IDF South-East Asia Region, in a statement.
Moreover, the report showed that worldwide, 537 million adults are now living with diabetes, a rise of 16 per cent (74 million) since the previous IDF estimates in 2019. Globally, 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type-2 diabetes.
The total number of diabetics is predicted to rise to 643 million (11.3 per cent) by 2030 and to 783 million (12.2 per cent) by 2045. Currently, one in ten (10.5 per cent) adults around the world are living with diabetes.
Diabetes was also responsible for an estimated $966 billion in global health expenditure in 2021. This represents a 316 per cent increase over 15 years.
Excluding the mortality risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, approximately 6.7 million adults are estimated to have died as a result of diabetes, or its complications, in 2021.
This is more than one in ten (12.2 per cent) of global deaths from all causes. The South-East Asia Region accounts for 11 per cent (747,000) of total diabetes-related deaths, according to the report.
The rise in the number of people with Type-2 diabetes is driven by a complex interplay of socio-economic, demographic, environmental and genetic factors. Key contributors include urbanisation, an ageing population, decreasing levels of physical activity and increasing levels of people being overweight and developing obesity.
"We must do more to provide affordable and uninterrupted access to diabetes care for all in India, and around the world. Policy makers and health decision-makers must turn words into action to improve the lives of people with diabetes and prevent the condition in those at high risk of developing it," Joshi said.
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Indians eat more fibre-rich plant based diet than people in the Western countries, reducing their risk of gut-related problems such as inflammatory bowel diseases like crohn's disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), colitis, and colon cancer, according to a research on Tuesday.
The international study, including researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER)- Bhopal, sought to understand the relationship between gut bacteria and inflammatory diseases.
"Increased intake of carbohydrate in the form of fibre such as wheat, vegetables, fruits and lentils, mostly found in Indian diet lowers the incidence of IBD, crohn's disease, colitis, colectral cancer, etc., than western diets that are generally meat-based," lead author Dr Vineet K. Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, IISER Bhopal, told IANS.
The human gut contains 300-500 types of bacteria that are necessary for our survival. These bacteria help in digestion, protect us from infections and even produce essential vitamins and neurochemicals.
Depending on the kind of bacteria that dominates the gut, human beings are generally classified into three "enterotypes" -- Prevotella, Bacteroides or Ruminococcus.
The study included 586 healthy samples from western and non-western populations including 200 samples from India, and 189 IBS samples from western populations.
The 200 gut samples from India were taken from people from several locations in -- Madhya Pradesh, Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, Bihar, and Kerala. It is also the largest gut metagenome study from India, as most such studies are largely based on the Western population.
The findings, published in the Nature's Biofilms and Microbiomes journal, showed that the Indian gut microbiome has the highest abundance of the Prevotella genus of bacteria, in particular, a species called Prevotella copri (P.copri).
This bacterium was also found to dominate the guts of other populations that consume a carbohydrate and fibre-rich diet, such as the Italian, Madagascarian, Peruvian, and Tanzanian. But, the gut microbiomes of people from Western countries like the US are dominated by Bacteroides.
Further, they found that P. copri is significant in the metabolism of complex polysaccharides and dietary fibres in non-western populations.
It is thus logical that this type of bacteria predominates the gut microbiome of the healthy Indian and non-western population that consumes a diet rich in plant-carbohydrates and fibres, Sharma explained.
"The proportion of P.copri in Indians is 30 per cent and can reach upto 60-70 per cent. Of the more than 1200 species of Prevotella, P.copri is the most abundant in Indian human gut," Sharma told IANS.
On the other hand, the guts of Western population were found to have other Prevotella species such as P. intermedia and P. nigrescens. These bacteria are usually found in the mouth, which points to a mouth-gut axis. These bacterial species are inflammatory and have high virulence and antibiotic resistance genes, making the Western population more susceptible to gut inflammatory diseases.
"Our insights would help in the development of new probiotics and prebiotics for different health-related conditions associated with the gut which is much needed for non-western populations," Sharma said.
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Until a few years ago heart diseases were common among older people in India. However, in recent years, heart ailments have become more common among the younger population in India. Heart diseases are killing approximately 17 million people in the world, and in India, there million people die each year due to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) which include heart attack and stroke.
Therefore, it is important to understand what causes heart attacks in younger Indians. Following are a few reasons that cause a heart attack in Indians:
Over Exercising: A recent study that too much exercise may be bad for the heart. While inactivity is also linked to increase in heart diseases by giving rise to obesity and other chronic diseases, the study that was conducted displayed that the people who engage in physical activity that exceeds a recommended amount for them are more at risk of having a heart attack.
Dietary Supplements: There has been no research that shows a clear benefit of supplements. However, it has been said that consuming too many supplements can be harmful. Excessive amounts of calcium and vitamin D are said to be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Although there are studies that are ongoing around this, there has been little evidence that any amount of vitamin D supplement will protect the heart.
Stress and Heart Attack: In today’s fast-paced lives an individual faces a lot of stress due to their personal and professional relationships. Professionally, a lot of work takes place on a desk and the working hours are long. Therefore, this leads to young professionals having less sleep and high stress, which increases their risk of having heart diseases.
Hypertension: With our current dynamic lifestyles, food habits tend to change leading to increased salt consumption. Furthermore, there is increase in the amount of stress and our lifestyles are sedentary. All the factors together have led to an increase in hypertension among younger people. People with high blood pressure are likely to develop coronary diseases because high BP adds pressure on the artery walls and over time this can destroy the arteries.
Unhealthy Eating Habits: A lot of young professionals and students often go to food joints that serve unhealthy food items such as junk food. These foods have a high amount of cholesterol and trans fat which may lead to heart disease among people
Hence, to reduce the number of individuals with heart attacks, drastic steps need to be taken collectively and as individuals. Organisations and healthcare professionals need to spread awareness around the growing burden of heart attacks among younger Indians and individuals need to adapt to a more holistic and healthy approach to life. Even at the slightest indication of heart disease, one must reach out to their primary care consultant to stay safe and healthy.
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This increased risk of heart disease in young Indians is due to a combination of inherited genes as well as environmental factors. Unfortunately, these environmental factors have only worsened the risk over time. Working long hours, often in stressful jobs and sleeping less has become the new normal in our lives. Modern work setups involve sitting a lot and not exercising and this can nearly double the risk of poor heart health.
A study conducted by Saffolalife in 2019 states that 58 per cent of people in top cities, between ages 30 to 40, who do not exercise regularly, are at greater risk of heart disease. Despite this 92 per cent of them do not consider lack of exercise among the top 3 risk factors for heart disease. This lack of awareness further exacerbates the issue.
Among younger people, we do see an increasing awareness about the importance of food in maintaining good health. But the reality also is that after a long and tiring day, it has often become easier to order in and give in to unhealthy food urges. With less exercise and eating junk food frequently, there is an increased chance of belly fat, which is another major risk factor for heart disease.
Thankfully, there is good news. Caring for your heart is not difficult. Once you are aware of the risk factors, you can take the right steps to reduce their impact. Making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can really make a difference. The most important thing, however, is to be proactive; changes we make in our 30s and 40s can go a long way in keeping us heart-healthy.
In your 30s, it is a good idea to assess your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and general health every year. This can let you be aware of symptoms earlier and corrective action can be taken immediately. Develop healthy lifestyle habits like brisk walking for about twenty minutes a day, at least thrice a week. Try to take breaks between work hours for deep breathing exercises. Control stress with exercise and yoga, rather than emotional/stress eating or staying up late and binge-watching. Make simple and easy changes to your diet, like eating one portion of raw fruits and vegetables during snack-time every day. Try to include heart-healthy ingredients like nuts, green leafy vegetables, avocados and oats. Using heart-healthy oil can also be a great and easy change you can make.
Remember good lifestyle habits developed early on can help reduce heart risk. So make heart health a priority today.
(Sheryl Salis, Registered Dietitian, Founder -- Nurture Health Solutions)
New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) A survey highlighted that Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have a 16.19 per cent prevalence of key NCDs which is higher than the national average of 11.62 per cent.These states particularly have a higher prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD) like hypertension, digestive diseases, diabetes, and neurological diseases as compared to the National Average Prevalence Rate of these diseases. This is similar to the overall national trend where hypertension, digestive disease, and diabetes emerge as the top three NCDs followed by respiratory diseases, brain disorders, heart diseases, kidney disorders, and cancer in the order of prevalence. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the apex trade association of the country, as part of its 'Illness to Wellness' campaign, on Friday unveiled Andhra Pradesh (now Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) specific findings of India's largest primary healthcare survey report on the rising burden of non-communicable diseases in the country. This was followed by a virtual panel discussion on "Non-Communicable Diseases: The New Health Challenges for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh". The survey report titled 'Non-Communicable Diseases in India' covered 2,33,672 people and 673 public health offices in 21 states to analyse the rising cases of NCDs in the country and the social profile of suffering households. Delving on the risk factors associated with NCDs, the report highlighted that significantly higher stress levels in the region than the national average are leading to heart, diabetes, and digestive disorders in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It stated that 63 per cent of respondents in the region face high stress. The report further underlined that the region has higher physical activities, which is reflected in lower BMI. However, the likely positive impact of the same on reducing the vulnerability to obesity related NCDs is significantly reduced by other factors like choice of food including salt and chillies intake and lifestyle choices. The study also found that high workplace pollution in the region is a major contributing factor to diseases related to neurology, heart, and lung. This is mainly due to high mining, stone quarrying, and construction activities in the region. Home air pollution was also found to be significantly contributing to hypertension and neurological disorders in the region. The problem of workplace air pollution was recognised by 82 per cent of the respondents while 76 per cent accepted that they face home air pollution. The region shows lower vegetable and fruit consumption coupled with high meat consumption than the national average. As per the study findings, 90 per cent of the respondents from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana consume non-vegetarian food with 68 per cent consuming red meat. This has implications on NCDs affecting the digestive system, heart, and hypertension. Incidentally, tobacco consumption was found to be below the national average in both the states, and thus their impact on the prevalence of NCDs relating to hypertension, heart diseases, and diabetes in the state is likely to be insignificant in line with the national findings. The study observed that while the national prevalence rate of hypertension is 3.60 per cent , its prevalence in the state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is 8.54 per cent . This is followed by digestive diseases and diabetes that have a prevalence rate of 5.65 per cent and 4.69 per cent respectively in both the states. Digestive diseases have a national average prevalence rate of 3.05 per cent while it is 2.85 per cent for diabetes. The prevalence rate of brain disorders and kidney diseases in each of these states stands at 2.52 per cent and 0.66 per cent respectively. This is again higher than the national average prevalence rate of 1.3 per cent for brain diseases and 0.4 per cent for kidney diseases. The prevalence of heart diseases, cancer, digestive diseases, and respiratory diseases were found to be lower in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana when compared to the national average prevalence rate for these diseases. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a sharper focus on health care. Patterns emerging from Covid management across the country indicate that people with co-morbidities of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have a higher mortality rate than those who do not. This has grave implications for the country not only because of mortality and years of healthy lives lost but also because of India's health infrastructure. Dr. C. H. Vasanth Kumar, Senior Consultant Physician, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, Current President Elect, Research Society for Study of Diabetes in India (RSSDI), said, "NCDs are a real threat to human life as it affects everyone irrespective of age, the financial status or background. Prevention and early detection are key to arresting the rising cases of NCDs. Towards this, parents, society, and government must come together for a decisive win against the disease which is gripping the world including India." Dr K. S. Soma Sekhar Rao, Consultant Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist, Department of Medical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Apollo Health City, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad added, "Health education and forums like this can certainly go a long way in improving awareness about NCDs among the masses. An unhealthy gut is the mother of all diseases, and we must take good care of our gut from a very young age for a long and healthy life." Rajesh Kesari, Founder and Director, Total Care Control, said, "NCDs have become a major health challenge in each country of the world including India. The amount of people suffering from NCDs in our country is simply huge and a lot of lives have already been lost to these diseases. --IANS san/dpb
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