The unavailability of processed, packaged foods and a shift in the everyday lifestyle of Indians during the nationwide lockdown, may have helped people - especially those over 50 years of age - to better their heart health, days from an at-home health test service provider shows.
The platform Healthians has revealed that it has observed an astounding decrease of 22.3 per cent in the incidence of high total cholesterol in people during the lockdown. The findings are based on data collected from more than 50,000 samples during the last quarter of 2019 in comparison to the third quarter of 2020, just after the Unlock process started in the country. Samples were split equally between males and females, to make accurate analysis.
Interestingly, the drop is far significant among men than women across ages. Men have witnessed a drop of 25.4 per cent versus a drop of just 17.2 per cent in women.
This drop, points to improved heart health amongst the populace and can be attributed to the fact that during the lockdown, people were forced to change their lifestyle and adapt to a life full of dietary restrictions. Non-availability of processed and packaged foods, ready to eat items has caused a shift in the consumption habits of people. Due to the lockdown and pandemic, there is a marked reduction in the consumption of junk food which is considered as one of the biggest causes of heart issues.
According to Healthians, cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that helps the human body to make hormones, vitamin D, and healthy cells. The body makes the required cholesterol on its own. It’s excess in the human blood can lead to plaque that sticks to the wall of arteries and can cause the coronary arteries to become narrow. Maintaining an optimum level of cholesterol is necessary for heart health. High levels of cholesterol significantly increase the risk of heart disease.
Another significant finding of the study indicates that a significant drop was witnessed by people in their 50s and above. Comparatively people in the age groups of 20s, 30s and 40s witnessed a significantly smaller drop.
While, lifestyle choices and altered living may be the primary reasons for this drop, healthcare professionals attribute weather also as a factor as cholesterol levels may be elevated during winters.
“Lifestyle changes play a vital role in determining the health of individuals; Lockdown has shown us why and how healthy lifestyle changes affect our overall well being. Just a few simple changes in eating habits whether forced or unforced can do wonders to our health," shared Deepak Sahni, CEO and Founder, Healthians.
One can also notice an explosion of health-focused content highlighting the importance of maintaining fitness, nutritional choices and making the most of the limited resources available. There is also a growing awareness about immunity. The conversation surrounding health has had a subliminal effect on people. Most packaged foods, ready-to-consume meals, fast food, and food items from eateries are usually high on unhealthy ingredients and contain extremely harmful trans-fats.
Reduced consumption of unhealthy fats and a focus on cooking meals with healthy ingredients has caused a dramatic change in eating habits. Even those who crave junk food are cooking more nutritious versions of their favourite options. Consumption of home-cooked, healthy food, following a timely eating schedule could also be a contributing factor in the reduced cholesterol levels.
As per the report by the doorstep health solutions provider, smaller cities like Jaipur, Amritsar, Kanpur, and Jalandhar have witnessed a more significant drop as compared to metros. It is possible that it could be due to a more severe shortage of processed, junk food in smaller cities as compared to big ones.