Q: Please ma’am, what makes the heart beat faster without being hypertensive? What can I use to reduce cholesterol?
A: Palpitations (feeling that your heart is beating too fast or too hard) occur when you get the sense that you can feel your heart beat. Ordinarily, your heart goes about its business of keeping you alive and well by beating inside your chest without you being aware, right? Some conditions, however, may make your heart beats obvious and you probably have experienced some: anxiety, panic attacks, stress, after some exercise, when you have a fever, after taking some coffee or any caffeine-containing food/fluid and also after taking in nicotine as in cigarette smoke, cigar or even chewing tobacco. Conditions like pregnancy and taking drugs eg cough medicines that contain stimulants may also cause palpitations.
Usually these palpitations would disappear after a brief appearance, but if they appear frequently and are accompanied by other symptoms like chest pain, being short of breath etc, please be sure to see your doctor to confirm that this is not a sign of a bigger problem with significant complications.
Treatment is focused on the cause. Where stress or anxiety is the trigger, management is really all about coping with stress and making sure that you have more ‘good’ stress than bad stress (remember that good stress has a life cycle…it starts and ends within defined periods while bad stress is from situations that are not handled properly and remain a source of ‘worry’ continually).
If it’s due to caffeine and nicotine…simple: stop 😀 or significantly reduce. For coffee, 2 cups (teensy weensy lady-like cups :D)a day should be the very maximum 😀 For nicotine though, you just have to let it go.
Finally, if you indulge in other drugs of ‘recreation’ eg cocaine etc, please leave well alone!
As for cholesterol, the first lesson we all need to learn is that cholesterol is not completely a demon 😀 There is the good cholesterol and the bad cholesterol. So, when we talk about high cholesterol, we usually refer to the bad one, Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol, which can lead to blockage of the vessels and inevitably, a heart attack…not good news! But we do need the good one, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. It mops up excess cholesterol and prevents LDL from being changed into the form that causes heart disease. Indeed, we are encouraged to take foods that increase this and this in turn improves heart health.
So, what foods can help reduce bad cholesterol in the body and increase the level of good cholesterol? Here are some examples:
Oats and other whole grains which form soluble fiber that reduce the absorption of cholesterol and in addition, give you a feeling of satiety for long. This prevents you feeling hungry more often and reaching for ‘unhealthy’ snacks 😀 Other foods in this group include okro, beans, apples, citrus fruits and garden egg (egg plants).
Soya beans, heart healthy oils like Olive oil and Canola oil, nuts (which should only be served in handfuls) and fatty fish like mackerel also reduce LDL.
Generally eating healthy with lots of fruits and vegetables, cutting out the white carbs (pastries etc), exercising (at least 150 minutes weekly), ensuring you are not overweight and quitting smoking.
Have a good evening, fabulous people 😀