When our elders say it is always better to be safe than sorry, they are right! This is especially true when it comes to taking care of our heart. According to the World Heart Federation, an estimated one crore 73 lakh people die annually due to heart diseases. Even in a developed country like the USA, the figure is staggering with close to 6 lakh 10 thousand people dying of heart attacks every year. In India, around 20 lakh people passed away in 2010 as a result of poor heart health. Of this almost 40 percent of the patients die even before they can reach hospitals.
According to the science of Ayurveda, the heart is the storehouse of energy. It is the heart that keeps life going from the start till the last breath. Undue stress to the mind and body, poor dietary practices, lifestyle choices and emotional outbursts can be detrimental to the health of the heart. The key to good health is to take extra good care of the heart. Treatments for an ailing heart is often expensive is not always affordable.
But when you turn to natural remedies suggested by Ayurveda, that do not have any side effects, you can be sure to keep that heart pumping in a healthy manner for a longer time. Heart health is governed by three sub-doshas: Sadhaka Pitta (emotional balance), Avalambaka Kapha (stability and strength) and Vyana Vata (blood flow and beat), which, though present everywhere in the body, has its seat in the heart. It is, hence, vital to bring about an optimum balance of these biological energies.
The following natural remedies help in energizing the heart as well as keeping it safe and sound. Most of these are available in the surroundings of our homes and can be easily included in our daily diets.
Neermaruthu or Arjuna Tree - The bark of this tree is considered as a cardiac tonic. The powdered bark can be mixed with milk or boiled in water.
Garlic - This herb has found to reduce cholesterol levels in the body and even remove blockages in the arteries. When had regularly for 12 weeks, this can magically reduce high blood pressure and control cholesterol.
Ashwagandha - Also known as winter cherry, this Ayurvedic wonder herb is a super cure for stress, anxiety and depression, hypertension etc. which in turn can affect the general health of the heart. This herb is great for diabetes and arthritis.
Guggulu - This herb has properties to pacify vata, pitta and kapha. Regular use of this herb can help to control and maintain the good cholesterol level in the body. This can also be a cure for arthritis and psoriasis.
When the heart fails you
Ayurveda has listed down exact signs and symptoms of poor heart health. Vataja, Pittaja, Kaphaja, Sannipataja, Krimija are the five heart ailments according to Ayurveda. Shivering, fatigue, stabbing pain in the chest, swelling in the joints, panting, breathlessness, water retention in the liver and heaviness for the body are some of the most common signals of heart disease. Reduction in the urine output, excessive sweating, pale, bluish tinge to the face, tiredness, fever that keeps coming, weakness for the body are some other signs. When an otherwise healthy person suddenly experiences difficulty in breathing, expert medical consultation should be taken immediately. The best way to prevent casualties resulting from poor heart health is to never ignore even the smallest of signs. This should be the first step.
When stress is the villain
In today's competitive world, it is very hard to live without stress. But when stress goes overboard the heart will be affected immensely. Both mental and physical stress can hamper the functioning of the hormones in the body. This will consequently affect the cardiovascular system. Along with stress, bad food choices, smoking and poor digestion will lead to the heart going on an indefinite strike.
The hearty diet and exercise
Nutritionally balanced diet at the right time and uninterrupted sleep of not less than 8 hours is very important for the general health and good state of the heart. Stay away from the fast food culture and take in food only in the required quantities. Having food at the same time every day will go a long way in improving digestion and boosting immunity.
Three healthy meals a day is the prescribed pattern. Sedentary lifestyles and lack of exercise is another reason for the rising number of heart attacks. Indulging in cardio exercises is great for the heart. Yoga and other activities like pranayama is very good for the heart too.
(The author works at Dhathri ABS Wellness Clinic, Adappilly Road, Vennala PO, Kochi-682028)