Written by Neha Chandna - Dietician, Nutrition Educator, Exercise Counselor with an M.Sc. in Dietetics and Food Service Management from SVT. She has worked with corporates such as HDFC and Standard Chartered as well as BPOs and MNCs on the Right ways of eating and living!
What if someone told you that starting your day with a cup of tea, biscuits, or bread and butter is the worst thing you could do to your heart? Surely you would ignore that person and their unsolicited advice. But no matter how much you try to escape the truth, it won't escape you. Most of us cannot imagine starting our day without a cup of "kadak masala chai" just because of the so-called kick it gives us. But the fact is that 1 cup of tea causes a great havoc in your system. It acts as a temporary stimulant but makes you crave for more after a while. What you actually need first thing in the morning after a 10-12 hour fast is something natural, wholesome, and easy to digest, so that your heart gets the energy to do its work and you feel energetic, active, and charged.
Below are some heart-healthy foods you can begin your day with:
Green tea with honey and cinnamon: This is a great antioxidant drink with the perfect combo of honey that gives you energy and cinnamon that helps to regularize hormones. You get dozens of flavours in these and you can choose from any that your taste buds call for.
Dried fruits: These include dates, figs, raisins, prunes, etc. packed with the iron, vitamin, and minerals that your heart needs to improve the quality of your blood. Besides that, they are a quick form of energy and naturally sweet.
Fruits: You can pick and choose from any fruits you like under the sun. Bananas, pineapples, papayas, melons, mangoes, you name it. Another easy way to consume your fruits is to put them in a blender and whip up a smoothie. You can carry it with you or have it instantly. It provides your heart with potassium, which helps to lower the pressure on it protecting your heart from an attack.
Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, pistachios are all great sources of good fats and vitamin E, which are the best of friends with your heart and blood. They act as antioxidants for your heart muscles.
Vegetable juice: Obviously, if someone tells you to eat a bowl full of veggies in the morning, you would weep. The best way to make things better is to juice down all the watery ones like cucumbers, tomato, beet, carrot, doodhi or blend them and strain. This gives your heart Vitamin A , C, and minerals to work at its optimum level.
Coconut water: A great source of potassium, which helps reduce the pressure on your heart. The malai in it also is a great source of natural fat that is good for the heart and its work.
Sugarcane juice: Another great drink to heart start your day with. Naturally sweet, tasty, and easily available, it gives your heart the power to perform.
So now there's no excuse for you to go back to the heart-taxing foods again. Heal your heart, heal yourself.