Best Indian Diet After Angioplasty: Tips and Lifestyle Changes
There are over 3 crore heart patients in India. Reports suggest that one out of every four Indians die of cardiovascular diseases. With such dramatic numbers, the current state of angioplasty patients in India needs to be understood, along with a special focus on diet after angioplasty. Let’s look at data from the Indian perspective:
According to the National Intervention Council data, “Every year around 4.75 lakh patients undergo angioplasty procedure in India.” Clearly, heart issues, particularly angioplasty, is a more commonplace phenomenon than you’d think.
When it comes to heart ailments, Gregg Fonarow, an American Heart Association spokesman rightly says:
“An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure in this instance.”
So let’s look at how healthy eating and regular exercising can contribute to angioplasty recovery and heart health.
“Angioplasty is a common procedure these days and according to statistics, over 4.75 lakh patients undergo it every year. Recovering from the procedure not only requires regular doctor visits and medication but also the right diet that includes green leafy vegetables and fruits. A clean diet not only will help you recover faster but also help improve overall heart health.”
– Dr. Pragnya Rao, General Physician
Angioplasty is derived from a Greek word which literally translates to vessel shaping. Medically, it is known as Atherosclerosis and is a minimally-invasive procedure to open the blocked arteries and restore blood flow to your heart by inflating a tiny balloon in the clogged artery. Angioplasty often requires the placement of a stent (wire mesh tube) to reduce the chances of arteries narrowing again.
When Do You Need Angioplasty?
Sometimes, a buildup of cholesterol, cells, or fatty plaques can cause your heart’s arteries to become blocked or narrowed. This, in turn, can decrease the flow of blood to your heart, cause chest discomfort or blood clots and eventually lead to a heart attack. In such a case, the angioplasty procedure can turn out to be a life-saver.
The Mayo Clinic suggests you may need angioplasty if:
- The main artery responsible for transporting blood to the left side of your heart is narrow.
- Your heart muscle has become weak.
- You have multiple blockages in your arteries as well as diabetes.
How Does the Angioplasty Procedure Help?
- It can improve the symptom of blocked arteries (chest pain and shortness of breath)
- It is a useful alternative for patients for whom medications and/or lifestyle changes aren’t working to improve their heart health.
- It becomes necessary if your chest pain (angina) seems to be worsening.
- It is sometimes used during a heart attack to quickly open a blocked artery and reduce the amount of damage to your heart.
Since angioplasty is not a major surgery, the recovery time is typically short. Patients are generally discharged from the hospital 12-24 hours after the catheter is removed. In fact, most people get back to work within a week post the procedure.
– Angioplasty is a procedure that helps to remove clogged arteries using a balloon catheter. This catheter is inserted in a blocked artery to widen it and improve blood flow.
– Note that this procedure may not be suitable for everyone, so please consult your doctor to understand whether you’re the right fit for this treatment type or not.
Historically, it has been seen that patients experience an appetite loss post angioplasty. After angioplasty care and diet should entail consuming nourishing, nutrient-rich food at regular intervals.
Most doctors recommend a ‘balanced’ post angioplasty diet, which includes certain foods with heart-protective nutrients (such as vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and dietary fibre) that can help lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
All in all, the trick to improving your cardiovascular health, reducing the cholesterol levels, and the possibility of plaque buildup is to maintain a healthy diet plan after angioplasty. Here’s a list of Indian food after angioplasty to include into your diet plan:
- Healthy Fat
Other sources of healthy fat include our very own Indian ghee or clarified butter which is good for your health. That said, limit your ghee intake to 10 gm mg of ghee a week for a healthier post angioplasty diet.
- Vegetables and Fruits
Fruits and vegetables are one of the best food for angioplasty patients. Fenugreek (methi) seeds are a rich source of soluble fiber which reduces cholesterol. You can add it in your curry, dal, or curd and keep your heart healthy.
Fruits (such as oranges, pears, berries, sweet limes, apple, and melons) and vegetables (such as carrots and broccoli) provide your body with all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Additionally, they boost your energy levels while being low in calories. In terms of the recommended portion size, you should ideally consume 2-3 portions of fruits and 4-6 portions of vegetables each day.
Food for angioplasty patients should include fruits and vegetables in their natural form instead of juices or added seasoning and toppings, which certainly add to the calorie count.
- Heart-Healthy Oils
“When you’re cooking or baking, choose a fat that’s liquid instead of solid at room temperature.” The Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans”
In the last few years, a lot has been spoken about including healthy oils into your diet. You can include vegetable-based oils such as olive oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, groundnut oil, sunflower oil, safflower
oil, mustard oil, and canola oil in food for angioplasty patients. These oils rich in unsaturated fats, the more healthy type of fat.
These oils can help in building up the essential components of your body and act as a natural lubricant for the joints. Ensure that the daily serving for oils should not exceed more than 15 ml per day or about three teaspoons of oil.
- Whole Grains
- Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a heart-healthy snack and are calorie-rich. Hence, they’re rightly termed as the ‘mini powerhouse’ of fibre, proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fats.
Experts recommend consuming a handful of nuts (after being soaked overnight) on a daily basis. Here’s how different nuts contribute their share to the body’s overall health (including the heart):
– Almonds: Rich in calcium and Vitamin E.
– Cashews: Rich in zinc, iron, and magnesium.
– Walnuts: Rich in antioxidants and omega 3.
– Pecans: Rich in monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid along with phenolic antioxidants which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
– Hazelnuts: Rich in vitamin B6, folate, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
– Pistachios: Rich in manganese, phosphorus, copper, and vitamin B6.
- Sprouts and Legumes
Another great source of essential nutrients and low-fat protein, sprouts and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) provide fibre and protein, keeping your stomach full for longer periods of time. Plus, they reduce your risk of heart disease. Two servings of sprouts per day is a must.
- Freshly-Brewed Hot Tea
“Black and green teas contain modest amounts of caffeine -between 20-45 milligrams per 8-ounce cup or roughly half the amount of caffeine in the same amount of coffee.” – Harvard Health
Packaged iced teas, like processed food, are bad for your heart and contain an unhealthy amount of sugar. So, if you wish to sip on something soothing, go for freshly brewed tea. Black and green tea are a good source of flavonoids – which can help reduce inflammation and plaque buildup inside arteries.
- Drink Plenty of Water
The importance of staying hydrated cannot be stated enough – from fighting off viruses to clearing out toxins, water is key to a healthy you. You can sip warm water from time-to-time for best results.
- Poultry and Fish
Instead, opt for options such as fatty fish (salmon, trout, and herring which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids) and poultry (chicken and turkey) as they have less saturated fat than red meat.
When cooking them, go for healthier cooking methods such as grilling, baking, and poaching. You should also avoid high-fat sauces and gravies as they do more harm than good. Ideally, try to consume fish at least twice a week.
– Undoubtedly, there’s a clear connection between food and heart-health. When it comes to angioplasty, the adage “You are what you eat” holds true.
– Include the above nutrient-rich foods after angioplasty to maintain a healthy heart and prevent a recurrence. Additionally, ensure that you plan your dietary chart in collaboration with a nutritionist.
In addition to understanding what kind of food to eat after angioplasty, it is equally important to understand what kind of foods to avoid after angioplasty, when it comes to the angioplasty recovery diet. To that end, here’s a list of food after angioplasty that you need to avoid:
- Processed Fatty Meat
You should avoid processed fatty meat such as bacon, sausages, salami, ham, hot dogs, lamb, beef, canned meat, and meat-based sauces. They’re loaded with sodium and other unhealthy preservatives which can damage your heart. In simple terms, it is advisable that you follow a vegetarian diet after the angioplasty stenting procedure.
- Foods With a High Sodium and Spice Content
One of the first things that your doctor will advise is to reduce your salt intake as it helps to lower your blood pressure. This, indirectly, lowers your heart’s workload.
Given that the Indian diet is high in salt content, you might be worried about how you will adjust to a low-salt diet. Surprisingly, your taste buds will adjust to the lower salt levels with time.
Another important change that you’ll need to make is to limit your consumption of spicy food as consuming it in excess can cause heart inflammation, nausea, and
Note that the daily intake of salt should not exceed 2g or about half a teaspoon.
- Food and Drinks With Added Sugar
The list of foods with added sugar is long – from soft drinks and canned juices to Indian desserts and pastries. Consuming sugar-rich food can lead to weight gain and cause complications if you’re diabetic.
Every time you get a sweet craving, have green tea, dark chocolate (70% and up), or natural fruits as they’re considered to be much healthier alternatives and are even rich in antioxidants which can aid in reducing your blood pressure and inflammation.
- High-Fat Foods
Trans-fats and saturated fats are your heart’s worst enemies – even when consumed in small portions. One such example is consuming the Dalda ghee, which is known to have the highest content of trans-fat oils compared to dairy oils and ghee.
Additional sources of high-fat foods include highly processed foods and junk foods (chips, breakfast cereals, cheese, tinned vegetables, bread, cakes, biscuits, sausage rolls, pies, among others).
Also, note that you can include low-fat varieties of milk and yoghurt in your angioplasty recovery diet. Make sure to eat egg whites instead of egg yolks, which are high in cholesterol.
- Deep-Fried Food
This one’s a no-brainer. Fried foods are one of the most important foods to avoid after angioplasty. Consuming fried foods such as parathas, puris, and pakoras (to name a few) are extremely bad for your health as they boost the bad cholesterol levels (LDL) in the body.
According to a recent study, “People who ate fried foods one to three times a week had a 7% higher risk of heart attack and stroke compared to those who ate fried foods less than once a week.”
So, instead of having fried food, consume foods that are either baked, steamed, stewed, or boiled as they can help reduce fat instead of adding to unwanted weight gain.
- Caffeinated Products and Alcoholic Beverages
As per a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association, drinking too much caffeine introduces the risk of high blood pressure and increased heart rates, which is especially unhealthy for those with heart disease. In addition,
alcohol consumption is known to increase heart palpitations and can cause a steep decline in overall health and cognition. Hence, try to avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as possible.
We have looked at the kind of foods you should and should not consume after angioplasty. Get started on your journey to good heart health with this Indian diet chart after angioplasty for your ready reference:
(ON EMPTY STOMACH)
|4 almond and 2 walnuts soaked overnight with a glass of warm water|
|BREAKFAST||A bowl of upma/poha/idli/boiled moong/dhokla/khandvi. Alternatively, you can have 1 dosa/thepla/paratha cooked in very little oil. Supplement the meal with a glass of milk or a bowl of curd for breakfast.|
|FOR NON VEGETARIANS||You can include egg whites in the form of a boiled egg or an omelette made with two egg whites to complete the meal.|
|MID MORNING SNACK||Have 100g of any seasonal fruit. Watermelon, papaya, apple, guava and muskmelon are low-calorie yet energy abundant. If you are diabetic, avoid fruits such as bananas, mangoes, chikoo, grapes and custard apples.|
|LUNCH||Start the meal by eating a big plate of salad. For lunch, you can consume 2 rotis (without oil/ghee) or a 1 medium bowl of rice, along with 1 cup of vegetable curry, 1 medium bowl of curd and 1 medium bowl of your favorite dal.|
|FOR NON VEGETARIANS||You can replace the dal with chicken or fish curry. Make sure not to fry these proteins.|
|EVENING||Opt for a cup of green tea or black coffee along with a small bowl of kurmura/bhel/chaat/khakra/muri.|
|LATE EVENING||Have a bowl of soup (tomato or chicken based on your preference) or fruit.|
|DINNER||Have 2 multigrain rotis or a bowl of khichdi/kadhi rice. You can add vegetable/non-veg curry, a plate of salad and a bowl of dal or curd to this.|
A. Eating in moderation is key in your diet after an angioplasty procedure as eating three full-course meals can add pressure on the stomach as well as your heart. Opt for six small meals a day or two big meals with breaks.
B. As a thumb rule, dinner should be light and should constitute easy-to-digest food. Gas-causing foods such as beans, cauliflower, etc. should be avoided at all costs during dinner time.
C. Other snacks/ food to eat after angioplasty can include boiled corn, sprouts chaat, vegetable chaat, muri, etc. Say goodbye to packaged foods and indulge on freshly-cooked homemade food instead.
– Now that you’ve seen these sample diet charts for heart patients after angioplasty, you can consult your doctor for a tailored plan for your special needs.
– Factor in any unknown food allergies you may have in addition to understanding which foods might suit you best based on your health condition and health risks.
“Following a regular exercise regime and a tailored diet chart after angioplasty reduces the probability of future cardiac problems by a whopping 70%.”
Heart-healthy eating can prevent heart strokes and other heart diseases. Much has been spoken about eating the right kind of foods to prevent the onset of heart disease.
That said, there’s a specific diet for angioplasty patients that must be followed to the T. If the diet plan for angioplasty patients is not followed as per medical advice, the repercussions can be severe.
Repercussions of a Poor Diet for Heart Patients after Angioplasty:
- Increased chances of contracting coronary artery ailments
- High cholesterol levels and high blood pressure
- High blood sugar and insulin levels
- Obesity and uncontrolled weight gain
- Decreased functioning of your heart and blood vessels
Repercussions of a Poor Diet for Heart Patients after Angioplasty:
Small lifestyle changes can have a long-lasting impact on your heart-health. Here are some of the most important healthy eating habits to incorporate in diet for angioplasty patients.
- Keep track of the number of servings and maintain portion control to prevent weight gain and avoid added pressure on the heart. According to research, obesity and increased cardiovascular risks are directly related:
“An increase in body fat can directly contribute to heart disease through atrial enlargement, ventricular enlargement and atherosclerosis”
- Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains.
- Being physically active can reduce the risk factors of heart disease, according to studies.
- Quitting smoking can reduce chest pain, according to the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions. The study further claims:
“Twenty-one per cent of people who quit smoking when they had angioplasty reported chest pain as compared with 31 per cent who kept smoking”
It’s not enough to simply follow a well-balanced diet after angioplasty stenting procedure. You need to follow a
dedicated exercise regime as well to keep your heart healthy and your mind happy.
Post the procedure, speak to your doctor about what kind of activities would best suit your current health condition. Once your healthcare specialist gives you the go-ahead to exercise on your own, you can consider the following tips for exercise:
- Exercise After Angioplasty: Start with low-intensity, non-strenuous physical exercises such as basic yoga workouts, walking at a moderate pace, etc. At this stage, weight lifting exercise after angioplasty or engaging in physically strenuous activities such as HIIT, Tabata, etc. are not recommended. You can build up your stamina as time progresses and start with light aerobic exercises like jogging, biking, or swimming. Try to avoid weight lifting after angioplasty in the beginning stage of recovery.
- Warm-up and Cool-Down Are a Must: Make sure to warm up before the exercise and cool down after you finish the exercise.
- Maintain an Exercise Schedule: Work out at the same time every day. This helps your internal body clock to ease into the new routine and increase the efficiency of the regime.
- Pick Your Exercise Time Wisely: Avoid exercising post meals, in extreme weather conditions, and before/after bathing.
- Be Comfortable: Ensure that you wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
- Take It Easy: Don’t go overboard by putting in too many hours into your workout regime. Listen to your body and remember to stop if you are feeling exhausted.
- Yoga After Angioplasty: As an added tip, make sure to incorporate self-care techniques meditation and yoga after angioplasty for a calmer and
more peaceful mind and body.
– In order to speed up your angioplasty recovery, post-procedure care is essential. Be sure to consult your doctor before you decide on an exercise schedule after an angioplasty procedure to be on the safe side.
– If you are new to workouts and physical activity, you can start with walking after angioplasty and build up your exercise schedule.
To keep your heart healthy and prevent recurrence of an angioplasty episode, here’s a roundup of the precautions to ensure a good life after angioplasty stent placement:
- Quit smoking.
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet that is low in saturated fats and can keep your cholesterol levels at bay. Also, fruits and vegetables are considered one of the best food for angioplasty patients. Adhering to portion control is also key.
- It is necessary to get regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
- Take care of other health conditions you may have, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which can cause heart complications if not taken care of.
- Take your medications regularly and timely, as prescribed by your doctor.
– Contrary to popular opinion, life after angioplasty stent placement should not feel complicated or restricted. Once you get the hang of maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly, you can take control of your health.
– A friendly reminder: When exercising, if you feel any pain, please contact your doctor immediately.
Q1. Why is angioplasty performed?
You may need angioplasty if you have blocked arteries and lifestyle changes and medications are not working for you. Additionally, it may become a necessity in order to improve symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath.
Q2. How long does the angioplasty procedure take?
Angioplasty is not a surgical procedure. Hence, it can take an hour at most. That said, most patients require about 12-16 hours for recovery post the procedure. So, the patient may be required to stay the night in the hospital. Before leaving the hospital, you’ll be given detailed instructions for exercise schedule, medications, follow-up appointments, among others.
Q3. What should I eat after angioplasty?
After angioplasty care and diet should focus on eating healthy nutritious foods; and staying sufficiently hydrated. This is necessary to aid your body’s healing process and reduce your risk of complications.
Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds into your diet post angioplasty and follow the sage advice of a nutritionist to stay on top of your health. You can also include:
- Fish rich in omega-3 acids
- Low-fat dairy
- Healthy fats
- Foods with a low salt intake
Q4. What kind of lifestyle changes/ precautions after angioplasty procedure can help reduce the risk of heart problems in the future?
Follow these precautions after angioplasty to maintain a healthy lifestyle:
- Maintaining your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Start by walking after angioplasty procedure, and slowly build a suitable exercise routine to prevent weight gain
- Taking care of other ailments like diabetes, hypertension, etc.
- Looking after your mental health by joining support groups or speaking to experts if you feel depressed or socially isolated
- Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption
Q5. Post-procedure, when should I call a doctor if I feel any discomfort?
In the event that you experience chest pain that lasts longer than 10 minutes, contact your doctor immediately to understand the next steps. In addition, if it feels like the type of pain that brought you into hospital in the first place, it’s best to call an ambulance.
Q6. What kind of activities will need to be eased into after coronary angioplasty?
As you recover from your angioplasty, you’ll need to ease back into certain activities slowly and steadily; and under expert guidance. You should avoid driving for at least a week after your procedure. Strenuous activities like sex and exercise should be avoided until your cardiologist gives you the go-ahead.
- Driving: Typically, you can resume driving after 2 days to 4 weeks, depending on your health condition after your surgery.
- Heavy-Lifting: Ideally, avoid lifting objects heavier than 5kg for 1 week.
- Travelling: Speak to your doctor before making any travel plans.
Q7. For how long can I walk after my angioplasty?
You can start with short walks and gradually increase the duration as well as the intensity. Make sure to walk daily – if only for a few minutes. If you have any questions or concerns about your exercise program, please consult your doctor.
Coronary angioplasty serves as a wake-up call for many patients. If, after the surgery, you feel depressed, ‘different,’ or socially isolated; please speak to an expert or your loved ones about how you’re feeling. The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone.
The second takeaway is this: In order to tackle this issue from the roots, making dietary and lifestyle changes are key. Your diet post angioplasty must be conducive to optimum heart health and functioning.
A healthy heart is the basis of your overall well-being, which include your physical, mental, and emotional health. So you must look after it to the best of your abilities. It’s never too late to start!