Here's the route to a healthy heart

City doctors advise 150 minutes of moderate-intensive exercise in a week and diet control
Last Updated 27 September 2019, 12:57 IST

In Bengaluru, 20 to 40-year-olds are increasingly at risk of heart ailments, observe doctors. From disoriented lifestyle to increasing stress, the reasons are many.

As World Heart Day falls on September 29, Metrolife interacts with medical experts to understand what are the alterations needed for a healthy heart.

One-fourth of heart attack cases among 20 to 40 year olds: docs

Dr Gnanadev N C, says that keeping statistics in mind and observations from practice, around 25 out of 100 cases of heart attacks, now are 20 to 40-year-olds.

“Heart ailments in this age group has doubled in the last decade. Heart attacks are now seen in mid 20-year-olds too. Smoking is a major reason for this as people start smoking earlier now,” he says.

Mental stress is another contributor, he adds. “Achieving goals and targets can be quite taxing.”

A sedentary lifestyle and desktop jobs are add-ons. “Young individuals are now more prone to diabetes, hypertension and obesity, which are other factors too,” he says.

There have been dramatic lifestyle changes in the last decade, everything has become instant, minimising physical activity, observes Dr Shashiraj Subramanya, consultant paediatric cardiology and heart transplantation, Narayana Health City.

“Earlier to get food, one would have to walk some distance, purchase something or order at a hotel, but now everything is done through mobile applications. The quantum of physical activity has decreased, which increases the risk of heart diseases,” he says.

Cases of 20-year-olds undergoing bypass surgery or angioplasty have been observed which is shocking, he adds.

How can one keep heart ailments at bay? He quips, “Mitigating risk factors is the key. Definite regular physical activity like yoga, pranayama, gymming or walking is a must. 150 minutes of workout a week (around 30 minutes in 5 days) is a must.”

There are pros and cons to each way of activity. “Running might not be a good option for the elderly, but yoga, walking, and swimming are definitely good options,” he says.

Diet changes a must: dietician

A good balanced diet is a must, and frozen and processed foods should be avoided, note diet experts.

Dr Pavithra N Raj, chief dietician, Columbia Asia Hospital observes that most people avoid home food and eat outside now.

“When we eat outside, we consume a lot of gravy which is either rich in butter or cashew paste, comparing to homemade curries which use minimal oil,” she says.

People do not drink sufficient amount of water which is needed. “When one is in an air-conditioned room for long hours, it is normal to not want to drink water but this can lead to hypertension, which in turn can affect the heart,” she says.

Consume food which is rich in fiber, which will help reduce bad fat in the body and improve one’s HDL (high-density lipoprotein) levels. “Ragi, millet and jowar are rich in fiber. Green leafy vegetables are good source,” she explains.

Alternations in social life

Instead of drinking and eating outside with friends on weekends, organise house parties and choose healthy alternatives in food and drinks.

Workout with kith or kin. 30 to 45 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity is a must. Cycling, jogging, swimming, walking on a treadmill, or playing badminton, are great options

Avoid visiting malls and opt for a trek with friends to a nearby place.

Avoid smoking and passive smoking.

Healthy choices: breakfast to dinner


Mid time snack: Ancestral food like idly, dosa, moong ka chilla or dhokla are rich in nutrition like carbohydrates and proteins. Bread is satiating but not a good healthy option.

Mid-morning snack: Those who have an early breakfast, can have a bowl of fruit or a glass of buttermilk or cucumber-mint juice.

Lunch: Chapati, broken wheat or millet ‘khichdi’ or ‘bisi bele bath’, are high in fiber.

Evening snacks: Boiled egg whites or sundal. You can add chaat masala if needed.

Dinner: Chapati or a multigrain (blend wheat, ragi and jowar) as a powder, add grated carrots and chopped onions to make dosa. If one has had a heavy lunch, soups or oats porridge are other options.


Use olive oil as salad dressing or for cooking.

Avoid red meat as much as possible. White meat and egg whites are good.

(Inputs from Dr Pavithra N Raj, chief dietician, Columbia Asia Hospital)

(Published 27 September 2019, 12:47 IST)

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