Faulty Indian dietary habits are the main reason behind many lifestyle disorders like Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (CVD – Heart and blood vessel diseases). The annual number of deaths from CVD or Heart Disease has risen from 2.26 million (2016) to 4.77 million (2020).
1 out of 4 deaths in India is due to Heart/CardioVascular Diseases. What is most shocking is that prey for this epidemic like situation prevailing in India is Young Indians( 20-40 years). Its high time to modify our diet and lifestyle to fight against lifestyle disorders like CVD. This article will help you understand Indian Diet for Healthy Heart and how to Boost heart health naturally with food.
Indian Diet Plan for Healthy Heart
Unhealthy eating habits like eating sweets after a meal, adding too many spices to the food, using the same cooking oil, excessive salt intake, less fiber, and excess consumption of animal-based food are some of the common practices in Indian households. These are the main reasons for increasing heart related diseases among the Indian Population.
Are you looking for an Indian diet plan for Healthy Heart? Is a vegetarian diet best for heart health? Will eating eggs daily increase cholesterol? what are the best non-vegetarian sources for heart health? Superfoods for the heart?
If you have these questions read till the end to find out the answers.
Boost your heart health naturally by adapting the Indian diet plan for a healthy heart. Changing food habits is difficult but not impossible. Start with these seven steps to your way to a healthy heart.
1. Include more fruits and vegetables in the daily diet
Vegetables and fruits are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. Eating good portions of vegetables and salad will make you eat less high-fat foods.
Always remember :
- To choose fresh fruits rather than canned fruits or Juices. Raw foods contain more fiber than processed ones.
- Eat the skin on Fruits such as Apples and Pears.
- Have a bowl of Salad before Lunch and Dinner. Do not add dressings on it, just add lime juice.
- Have a serving of raw vegetable cold-pressed juice every day.
|Indian Fruits and Indian Vegetables to be |
included for a healthy heart
|Indian Fruits and Indian Vegetables |
to be limited for healthy heart.
|Fruits like Orange, Sweet lime/Mosambi, Pears, |
Apple, Papaya, Guava, Pomegranate, and Amla
are best for heart health.
|High Calorie fruits like Banana, Mango, Sapota/Chicoo, Custard apple and Jack fruit.|
|Almonds (in moderation)||Cashew nuts, Dates, Raisins and currants|
|Vegetables like Bottle gourds, Ash gourds, |
Ladies finger, Ivy gourd, Brinjal, Bitter gourds,
Ridge Gourds, Snake gourds, Cabbage, Cauliflowers, Carrots and Beetroots can be safely consumed.
|Potatoes, Yam , Colocasia, Sweet Potato, and Tapioca.|
|cold pressed fruit and vegetable Juices and Fresh cut salads.||Tetra Pack fruit juices|
As such Fruits and Vegetables do not cause any harm to health. But if you are diagnosed with Heart Disease along with Diabetes it is advisable to limit high-calorie fruits and vegetables. You can enjoy them in moderation once or twice a month depending on your sugar levels and blood pressure.
2. Replace Simple carbohydrates with complex Carbohydrates.
Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and boost heart health. Reduce the intake of simple carbohydrates that are present in processed and packaged food.
|Indian Carbohydrates to be|
included for a healthy heart
|Indian Carbohydrates to be excluded for healthy heart|
Whole Grains and their products like Whole Wheat Atta, Daliya, sooji, Hand pounded Rice, Parboiled rice, Red Rice, Brown rice, Ragi, Jowar, Bajra, Oats, Yavva Ravva (Indian Oats), Bajra, Minor millets, Rajgira and Kuttu.
|Foods made from Maida like Naan, Kulcha and Rumali Roti. Pizza, spring rolls, Mathris|
|Sugar ( Limit to 2 teaspoon/day)||Cookies, Biscuits, Chocolates, Ice creams, Pastries,|
|Ragi drink and Rice Kanji||Soft Drinks and Flavoured Yoghurts/milk|
Healthy Tip :
- You can add powdered wheat bran and oats to your regular Dosa and Idly batter, it can also be added in roti and paratha dough to increase the fiber content.
- If you crave sweets, have fruit instead of deep-fried and high-calorie Indian sweets, Donuts, Ice creams, etc.
3. Limit unhealthy fats & cholesterol
Limiting saturated and trans fats is a crucial step in lowering blood cholesterol levels and prevent coronary artery diseases. Omega – 3 fatty acids rich food sources can improve heart health by reducing inflammation. PUFA and MUFA containing fats are considered healthy for the heart. They improve cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. Healthy Fats should be consumed in moderation for protecting and maintaining good heart health.
|Indian Healthy Fats to be Included |
for Healthy Heart
|Indian Unhealthy Fats to be excluded for healthy heart|
|Skimmed Milk and Low fat Curd||Full Cream Milk and their products like paneer and cheese|
|Fatty Fish. ( Twice – Thrice a week)||Red Meat, Crabs and Prawns.|
|A combination of Cooking Oil – Sesame Oil, |
Groundnut Oil, Mustard oil, Canola Oil,
Sunflower Oil, Rice Bran Oil, and Olive oil. Keep changing oil once in two months or every month.
Ghee ( in moderation)
|Vanaspathi oil , Butter and Coconut Oil|
|Fenugreek/Methi seeds, Flax seeds, Sabja Seeds , Chia seeds, almonds and walnuts||Deep Fried foods like Poori, Pappad, Vada, Chips, Pakoras, french fries etc|
- Recommended Oil consumption for a person with Heart Disease is half a liter per month. This means only three teaspoons of oil per day. Keep changing the oil every month.
- Strictly avoid Deep-fried foods till your blood reports come to normal.
- Ghee can be taken with moderation. One teaspoon of ghee per day is safe to be consumed for heart patients. You can swap 1 teaspoon of oil with ghee.
4. Choose Low -Fat Protein Sources
Choosing the right protein is very important to maintain good heart health. Depending on too much on animal source for protein can raise saturated fats and cholesterol intake in the body. Following an Indian Vegetarian diet and consuming more plant-based protein foods is considered good for heart health. Do not worry, if you are a non – vegetarian, you can still manage good heart health by including healthy animal proteins and proper cooking techniques.
|Proteins to be Included |
for healthy heart
|Proteins to be excluded |
for healthy heart
|Lean Meat, Poultry,||Red Meat and Organ Meats.|
|Fish.||Crabs and Prawns|
|Egg Whites – 2 (daily) or 1 Whole Egg |
( 2-3 times a week)
|Peas, Beans like Chole, Rajma, etc, Lentils like Moong, |
Toor, Masoor, etc, Soya bean.
|High fat Paneer and curd|
|Nuts – Almonds, Boiled Peanuts, Walnuts |
seeds – pumpkin seeds,sesame seeds, melon seeds.
|Full cream milk|
|Home made Panner and Curd with skimmed milk.|
Always Remember :
- Please include nuts and oil – seeds in moderation and unsalted.
- Prepare the dishes in minimal oil.
- To enhance the quality of food including healthy Indian cooking methods like steaming and roasting. If you deep fry or immerse in rich and oily gravy the nutrient value of the food comes down.
5. Reduce Sodium in your food
Too much sodium can raise your blood pressure, dehydrate your body, stiffen your arteries, and affect blood clotting. All these will slowly lead to heart disease. The total restriction on Sodium for Heart patients is 1600mg- 2300 mg. People think salt is the major source of sodium. But many vegetables, pulses, grains, and animal foods have sodium content in them
Sodium content in various foods per 100 grams.
|< 25 mg||25-50 mg||50-100 mg||>100 mg|
|Bitter gourd, Bottlegourd, Brinjal, Cabbage, |
Beans, Cucumbers, Ladies Finger, Peas, Ripened tomato, Radish, Sweet Potato,
|Bengal Gram dhal , Carrots, Spinach,Cauliflower, Knolkhol||Beetroot, Coriander leaves||Eggs|
|Grapes, Pine apple, Oranges, Papaya, Mango, Water Melon, Apples||Buffalo Milk||Liver meat||Bacon|
|Ragi, Wheat, Lentils.||Mutton||Prawn||Lobster|
|Green and Red gram dal||Chicken||Beef|
Source : Longvah,T et.al, Indian Food composition tables 2017, National Institute of Nutrition,Hyderabad.
Always Remember :
- 3 grams/ day of Salt Intake is recommended for patients with Hypertension and Heart Disease.
- People over-consume sodium from packaged, canned, and processed foods like Sauces, Namkeens, Pickles, Spreads, ready to eat foods, etc. Please avoid all such packaged products available in supermarkets.
6. Include Indian Superfoods
Include following Indian superfoods that can enhance your metabolic rate and help in the smooth functioning of the heart.
- A cup of green tea or Indian Herbal Tea.
- Turmeric Tea.
- Chewing 2-3 garlic pods as soon as you wake up before brushing.
- Methi powder in rotis.
- Methi sprouts.
- Cinnamon water.
- Ginger infused Mint Tea.
- Flax seeds.
7. Control Portion Size
How much you eat is as important as what you eat. Overloading your plate, taking second servings, and stuffing yourself can lead to an increase in calorie intake, fat, and cholesterol. Eat mindfully and peacefully. This will automatically control your food portions.
Follow these seven steps strictly to see a postive change in your heart health.
Role of nutrients and foods in the prevention of heart diseases
Prevention in heart disease
|Fruits and Vegetables||Prevents the oxidation of Polyunsaturated fatty acids,Reduces LDL oxidation, Reduces thrombus formation, reduces damage caused by free radicals, antioxidant effects protect against heart disease.|
|Beans||Soluble,fibre, magnesium, potassium,copper, folate.||Reduces of Hypertension,|
soluble fibre reduces cholesterol.
|Nuts||Mono Unsaturated fatty acids, magnesium, copper, Resveratrol||Reduces LDL without effecting HDL, omega 3 fatty acids and phytochemical protect heart health.|
|Garlic||Allicin, diallyl, disulphide, allyl mercaptin||reduces cholesterol and triglycerides, block cholesterol biosynthesis.|
|Tea||Polyphenols||Prevent atherosclerotic plaque formation|
|Oats||Beta Glucans||Hypocholesterolemic effect|
|Dahi||Hydroxy methyl Glutarate||Reduces Cholesterol biosynthesis|
|Turmeric||curcumin||Anti- lipidemic effect|
Lifestyle Modifications for Healthy Heart
Along with Indian Diet Plan for Healthy Heart, certain lifestyle modifications should be adapted for good heart health.
- Reduce the frequency of eating out. 99% of the food available out of home is high in salt, sugar, and fat content. If you have to dine out choose your food smartly.
- Avoid eating while watching T.V.
- Chew your food slowly as it helps in the absorption of nutrients present in the food.
- Give an hour gap between meals and sleep.
- Limit the Intake of coffees /teas to 2 cups.
- Avoid drinking alcohol as it will alter your blood sugar levels and indirectly affect heart health. Please do not overindulge in Wine for boosting heart health, instead choose a healthy source of antioxidants from nuts, fruits, and vegetables to protect your heart.
- Quit Gutkha.
- Practice 1-hour physical activity like walking, Yoga, Swimming, or any sports every day.
- Practice meditation to control stress.
- Sleep for 7-8 hours every day without interruption.
- Consult your cardiologist before making any change in your diet and take your medications regularly as prescribed by the physician.
- Keep your body weight in a normal range.
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly.
Last but not least, always consult with qualified nutritionist or dietitian for treating your heart issues naturally with diet.
Main Risk Factors for Heart Diseases
- Improper Diet:- High Saturated Fat, High – Cholesterol Diet, and High Sugar diet.
- Cigarette Smoking:- Carbon monoxide, Tar, and Nicotine present in Cigarettes prevent blood vessels to carry oxygen to the heart and other body parts. It also causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
- Hypertension:- Prolonged high blood pressure result in heart cell damage and thickening of the arteries.
- Elevated Blood Cholesterol levels:- High Cholesterol levels often cause blockage in the arteries.
- Diabetes:- Diabetes enhances the risk of heart diseases. People with diabetes have metabolic alterations like insulin resistance, blood lipid abnormalities, hypertension, and obesity which in turn cause heart diseases.
- Age:- With age, cardiac muscles lose their strength and flexibility.
- Gender:- Men are more likely to get heart diseases compared to women. But, after menopause, even women are prone to high cholesterol levels and heart attacks if diet and lifestyle aren’t taken care of.
- Stress:- Stress will increase free radicals in our body, which cause inflammation in heart blood vessels and damage them.
If Heart complications are not rectified it can lead to Heart attacks, Fatigue, Strokes and eventually death.
Take Away Message
There is a rise in the number of deaths due to heart-related diseases in India every year. The most affected are the young generation of India (20-40 years). The main culprit behind Cardiovascular Disease is improper diet habits and Poor lifestyle. Follow the Indian diet plan for a healthy heart and boost your heart health naturally. Following seven simple steps can bring a positive change towards heart health – Including fruits and vegetables, Reduce Unhealthy fats, Include complex carbohydrates, Reduce sodium Intake, Choose the proper source of protein, Include superfoods for the heart, Control portion size. Bring certain lifestyle modifications for the smooth functioning of the heart for a lifetime. Consult a qualified nutritionist for a tailor-made diet plan for your heart issues. Protect your heart naturally and stay happily healthy for a lifetime!!
References (Retrived on 22/1/2021)