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Modern work setups involve sitting a lot and not exercising and this can nearly double the risk of poor heart health.

When we speak of heart health, we often picture older people. Studies, unfortunately, show that Indians are at risk of heart disease at least a decade earlier than western counterparts. This means there is an increasing prevalence of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in people as young as 30. India already accounts for one-fifth of deaths worldwide, caused by cardiovascular diseases. And this reflects in the younger population as well, with an age-standardized death rate of 272 per 1,00,000 population as compared to the global average of 235.

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.

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

"Sugar is one of the most obvious additives in the food supply to reduce to reasonable amounts," said Dariush Mozaffarian, co-senior author and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

Cutting 20 per cent of sugar from packaged foods and 40 per cent from beverages can prevent death as well as the onset of cardiavascular diseases and diabetes in millions of people worldwide, according to a study. The study, led by a team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Tufts University and others, showed that reducing the amount of sugars in packaged foods and beverages can reduce the risk of 2.48 million cardiovascular disease events (such as strokes, heart attacks, cardiac arrests), 490,000 cardiovascular deaths, and 750,000 diabetes cases in the US. The reports was published in the journal Circulation.

"Reducing the sugar content of commercially prepared foods and beverages will have a larger impact on the health of Americans than other initiatives to cut sugar, such as imposing a sugar tax, labelling added sugar content, or banning sugary drinks in schools," said lead author, and attending physician at MGH, Siyi Shangguan.

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Ayurvedic medicine being prepared in a grind.

An Ayurvedic poly-herbal formulation, NEERI-KFT, has the potential to not only slow down the progression of chronic kidney disease but also restore normalcy in functional parameters of the vital organ, a team of researchers has claimed.

In a review published in the latest edition of Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, they said "phytopharmacological evaluation of NEERI-KFT suggests that it exhibits substantial potential against oxidative and inflammatory stress induced apoptosis by exerting antioxidant, nephroprotective and immunomodulatory effects in the patients associated with renal dysfunction or chronic kidney disease (CKD)".

The NEERI-KFT, a herbal medicine extracted from plants, has been found to correct oxidative as well as inflammatory stress known for reducing body's immunity, said the authors after drawing data on the formulation for kidney ailments from more than five electronic databases such as Science Direct, Google Scholar, Elsevier, PubMed, Springer, ACS publication from published database between 2000 and 2020.

Replica of Kidney. Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

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Pomegranate contains antioxidants and bioactive polyphenols, which possess many medicinal qualities beneficial for hypertension.

Hypertension is one of India's most common lifestyle diseases and is often termed a "silent killer" disease. The condition exhibits no symptoms even if blood pressure reaches a dangerously high level, making a person prone to having a cardiac arrest or stroke.

With the fast-paced life and demanding work schedules, everyone is under a significant level of stress. The pandemic has further escalated the stress levels due to work from home, resulting in longer working hours. Hypertension refers to a condition where the long-term force of the blood is unusually high against the artery walls leading to several other diseases over time, notes Sharanya S Shastry, a dietician at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore.

Regular headaches, nosebleeds, and shortness of breath are a few symptoms of high blood pressure, these are not specific to only hypertension and don't occur till the blood pressure is at a severely increased level, says the expert. According to Shastry, including a few foods in the daily diet can help manage hypertension as these foods have medicinal properties. A few superfoods for hypertension are:

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This delicious fruit contains antioxidants and bioactive polyphenols, which possess many medicinal qualities beneficial for hypertension. One can simply include a bowl of fresh fruit as their mid-morning snack.

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