World heart day is celebrated every 29th of September since the year 2000. It was created by the World Heart Federation to educate members of the public on the control of risk factors that leads to heart disease. It also ensures that individuals, families, communities and organization take part in activities that help them take charge of their health. This has helped to reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases.

The heart

The heart is a muscular organ found in the chest region that pumps blood through blood vessels in the body. Its pumping action is seen by the beats you feel in your chest wall. It can beat 100,000 times in a day. If the heart declines in its function, the whole body shuts down resulting in death. Blood is life which means everything that has breath has got blood in it. The heart carries blood that sustains the life of both humans and animals. The blood contains oxygen and nutrient which helps to nourish the body.

Functions of the heart

The heart pumps blood that does the following:

  • Carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body
  • Carries nutrients (food) to the cells of the body
  • Remove carbon dioxide from the lungs out of the body.

Risk factors

There is no known cause for heart disease but there are factors that predispose one to heart diseases. They are:

  • Age: As one advance in age, the chances of having heart disease are higher.
  • Gender: Men are at higher risk than women. Women increase their chances to heart disease after menopause.
  • Family history: Since genetic traits are hereditary, a person can be at risk of heart disease if someone in his /her family has it.

How to Keep Your Heart Healthy.

You can keep your heart healthy and sound if you adhere to the following:

  • Eat diet moderately high in protein such as lean meat, beans poultry, eggs, nuts seeds, fish, seafood and legumes.
  • Choose whole grains foods like corn, millet, oats, barley to protect your heart and health. They can also be seen in form of pasta, breakfast cereals, noodles and bread.
  • Avoid cooking your meals with saturated fatty oils rather use unsaturated oil such as groundnut oil, olive oil, canola, soybean, sesame and sunflower oil.
  • Reduce your intake of fat milk or shakes, cheese, ice cream, butter and yogurt
  • Eat enough vegetables like sweet potatoes, sweet corn, salad or raw vegetables (spinach, carrot, cucumber)
  • Fruits like apples, oranges, peas, banana and apricots are healthy for your heart.
  • Regular blood pressure checks to rule out hypertension
  • Avoid too much of sweetened foods e.g. candies, sweets
  • Avoid drinking too many soft drinks, water is the best for you.
  • Mild to moderate exercise helps you keep fit and healthy e.g. brisk walking, swimming, jumping and dancing.
  • Avoid excessive strenuous activity as this could put more strain on your heart.
  • Avoid smoking as this has lead to heart diseases
  • Avoid alcohol, it not healthy for your heart.
  • Maintain a healthy weight by checking your body mass index (BMI) regularly.
  • Eat less salt or canned foods as this can cause hypertension which leads to heart diseases.
  • Choose herb and spice to flavor food instead of too much salt.
  • Check your blood sugar regularly to rule out diabetes.
  • Taking adequate rest and sleep is healthy for your heart.
  • Ensure you take a cup of water before bed as it helps to improve blood circulation.
  • Practice mind meditation to relieve stress which leads to hypertension.