How To Have A Healthy Heart At The Age of 60?
Hridaya (heart) is considered as the one of the trimarma (three vital organs of the body). Marma refers to the vital organ of life. Acharyas had included the heart as one of the major vital organs, and any damage to this structure can be fatal or can lead to severe consequences. So it is of utmost priority for the person to take good care of the heart.
Acharya Charka had suggested the risk factors for the various heart diseases in a phrase i.e.(Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana 26/77)
Heavy exercises i.e. doing work more than one’s efficiency.
As a complication of medicines with higher potency to be used in a weak person.
Excessive/prolonged feeling of stress, fear and suffering from emotional disturbances (Chintabhayatrasgdadiaticharah).
Repeated habit of suppressing the urge to non- suppressible urges such as vomiting (Chardayadyamsandharn) Furthermore, the repeated use of aasatmya ann (unbalanced diet).
Alcohol overconsumption and excessive anger issues (madyapanam, atikrodha).
Ama (endotoxins) produced due to the weakening of the digestive fire (mandagni), is the major factor responsible for the heart and other bodily diseases.
These factors must be avoided to prevent the heart from various ailments and keep it healthy.
Promoting the use of vegetables and fruits in diet -
The maximum use of seasonal fruits and green leafy vegetables must be encouraged as it contains the nitrous oxide that helps in clearing the blockage of arteries and also enhance the opening of collaterals (a secondary pathway of blood supply to the heart when the primary supply i.e. coronary artery is hampered or blocked), thus increasing the age/lifespan of the healthy heart and reducing the risk of heart attacks to several folds.
Use of fruits can be done in raw form as fruit salad or can be used as a fruit juice. The vegetables can be used in the form of salad (to be taken before meal), smoothie and in boiled or cooked form.
Millets (positive millets) must be included in diet plans in place of conventionally used cereals or grains. Millets are the rich source of fibres and it enhances slow release of glucose in blood, thus purifying blood and supporting better blood circulation. Foxtail millets are highly recommended for improving health.
Avoid using junk food items and food articles cooked in unhealthy refined oils, as these causes deposition of lipids (such as cholesterol) which are the leading cause of narrowing of blood vessels (causing hypertension) and such narrowing of coronary arteries can lead to the blockage and ultimately to the cardiac failure.
Physical exercise along with adequate rest is the daily requirement of the body. The fitness of the body and mind is very much beneficial for promoting the health of the heart. Few lifestyle modifications that must be included in daily regimen to avoid the risk of heart related various diseases :
Yogasana (the physical exercise) must be done daily to improve the blood circulation of the whole body. The beneficial yogasana for the heart are utthita trikonasana (triangle pose), paschimottanasana, ardha matsyendrasana, gomukhasana, setu bandhasana, etc, along with vajrasana after meals (for supporting the better digestion). People can include surya namaskar in the early morning for better results. These yoga asanas must be done with gradual practice and slowly, avoiding the jerky movements.
Duration - 20-25 minutes two times in a day.
Pranayam (Breathing exercises) - Along with the yogasana, one must do pranayam for better mind and body relaxation, and reducing stress. Psychological factors are the major cause of hypertension, which leads to cardiac disorders. Few pranayam beneficial for mind relaxing are sheetli pranayam, anulom vilom pranayam, shitkari pranayam, kapalbhati (slowly) etc.
Brisk walking for 30 minutes twice daily in an open clean environment is highly recommended. A daily exposure of 1 hour in sunlight is recommended. Laughing and remaining stress free is the key to keeping the mind and body healthy.
Decreasing body fat, especially central obesity, is the main goal to be aimed at for the person seeking a healthy heart. Along with the balanced diet, a proper amount of adequate physical exercise (yogasana and brisk walking) is necessary for it.
A good amount of sleep is necessary for the body to properly restore normal functioning of the body.
Some lifestyle habits that are advisable to avoid for the good health of heart:
Quit smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages as smoking reduces the lung ability to maintain balance of oxygenation in the blood and thus affecting the heart. Also alcohol can damage multiple systems including liver and kidneys and prolonged intake causes the effects on blood circulation.
Benificial Ayurvedic Herbs
Acharya Charka had mentioned the ten best herbs for a healthy heart under the Hridy mahakshay. These are:(Reference- Charka Samhita Sutra sthana 4/10)
- Amra (Mangifera indica)
- Amtrak (Spondias mangifera)
- Lakoocha (Artocarpus lakoocha)
- Karamarda (Carissa carandas)
- Vrikshamla (Garcinia indica)
- Amlavetasa (Garcinia pedunculata)
- Kuval (Ziziphus jujuba)
- Badar (Ziziphus sativa)
- Dadim (Punica granatum)
- Matulung (Citrus medica)
Apart from these 10 herbs Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) and garlic (Allium sativum) are also best for a healthy heart.