Women, Menopause And Cardiovascular Health
Statistics show that most women have a 'heart age' that is way more than their biological age! Your heart changes at menopause. A decrease in the level of estrogen greatly increases your risk of developing heart diseases. In fact, cardiovascular diseases are the biggest cause for mortality among women. Additionally, the possibility for developing cardiac disorders increases radically around the menopausal period.
Association between menopause and heart health
As the levels of estrogen decline, your heart and blood vessels become less elastic. Consequently, blood pressure starts rising, putting strain on the heart. A reduction in estrogen levels also afflicts the cholesterol profile. Levels of HDL dwindle, while LDL and triglyceride levels escalate, increasing your risk of cardiac arrest. Furthermore, during the peri-menopausal and menopausal phase, women tend to become resistant to insulin as well. Consequently, they may develop diabetes which again puts women at a bigger risk for heart diseases. Menopause also puts a break on the metabolic rate, and this may lead to weight gain, especially around the belly. This exerts further stress on your heart and raises your risk of heart diseases.
Fortunately, it is possible to turn back the clock on your heart! Almost 50 % of all deaths due to heart attack can be prevented by making specific changes in the diet. So, take your heart health into your own hands!
Foods That Make Up A Heart Healthy Diet!
Here are some heart healthy foods that can help you reduce your chances of getting heart diseases and help you drop that unwanted weight too!
1. Flax seeds: 1 tablespoon of the flax seeds serves up 3 grams of fibre and is an amazing plant source of omega 3 fatty acids. The fibre has robust belly-fat burning abilities and lessens cholesterol levels substantially. Omega 3 decreases inflammation and can help stave off cardiac diseases as well as diabetes mellitus. Flax seeds lower two cholesterol carrying molecules, apolipoprotein A1 and B and this plays a pivotal role in managing your cholesterol profile. However, do remember that you need to consume ground flaxseeds in order to obtain the incredible heart benefits; whole flax seeds cannot be digested easily. Flaxseeds are the ideal addition to homemade smoothies, parathas and salad dressings!
2. Tomatoes: The tomato is a low-calorie food that’s packed with the choicest nutrition. There is a very strong relationship between a habitual intake of tomatoes and a diminished risk of developing heart-related disorders. Loaded with lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant, the tomato helps widen the blood vessels in people diagnosed with atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of your arteries). An important fact to bear in mind is – cooking releases more lycopene than the raw fruit. So, eat a lot of tomato soup and add generous amounts of the fruit in all your curries!
3. Moong: The green gram most definitely ought to be a part of your heart healthy diet. Studies show that moong reduces LDL as well as non-HDL cholesterol. Furthermore, it is chockfull of fibre, it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, prevents weight gain and stabilizes your blood sugar levels too. What’s more, moong does not have to be boring. Experiment with moong by adding it to your bhel, salads, curries and sandwiches!
4. Groundnuts: A protector of the cardio-vascular system, the groundnut is jam-packed with resveratrol; in fact, groundnuts have five times as much resveratrol as found in grapes. Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant that plays the role of a powerful heart healthy phyto-nutrient. Also, being a legume, it is a good source of fibre, protein and mono-saturated fat, which help bring down blood cholesterol level, steadies your blood glucose profile and helps battle inflammation in the body. It brings down LDL levels drastically, whilst maintaining good levels of HDL. Experts state that boiled groundnuts are way better than roasted raw ones. The amount of resveratrol found in the brown-red papery skin of the legume is humongous. What’s more, boiled groundnuts also have lesser calories and lesser fat compared to the dry and roasted peanuts. Have boiled peanuts as a mid-morning snack, add them to your khichdi, or top your bhel with these boiled nuts!
5. Garlic: Garlic provides very strong protection against heart diseases. It decreases the total serum cholesterol levels, whilst increasing levels of the good HDL. It also helps lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals. Chopping the herb, converts alliin in to allicin, the compound which proffers all the robust health benefits. So, add liberal amounts of this herb to your dishes! Experts also recommend hypertensive individuals to begin their day with 1 flake of crushed garlic blended with a dollop of honey.
Food that can have an adverse effect on your heart health is excess sodium and sugar. These ingredients sneak their way into our diet through processed foods. Foods that are loaded with excess sodium and sugar cause obesity, inflammation, and diabetes, and all these contribute to cardiovascular disorders. Remember to consume them in moderation.
Having a good, wholesome lifestyle is very important; control your diet and ensure that you exercise daily to help your heart function at its best. Menopause is a crucial time to take good care of yourself and your heart. Women, who follow a heart healthy diet, exercise regularly and watch their weight, can significantly cut back on their risk of developing heart diseases as they age.
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