Sometimes the simple things are the best. Eating healthy for a healthy heart is neither complex nor difficult. There are, of course, differences between individuals so one must take the suggestions listed below in that light. General guidelines are as follows:
Reduce salt intake. Most of the salt in our diet is hidden in processed foods of all kinds so try and eat food that is prepared from scratch and avoid canned foods and goodies in the treat aisle of the food market, this will cut your food costs by half right off the top. Get that salt shaker off the table to start with and replace it would herbs in the food cooking process. Herbs not only add flavor but they have medicinal properties. Do note, however, that you should have some salt in your diet. Goiter issues have made an increase in recent years due to some people eliminating salt entirely from their diet.
Reduce simple carbohydrates. Look at your packages – if the ingredient ends in “ose “, it’s a sugar. Regardless of how you want to argue about the differences between types of sugar, less sugar is better. Period. Many boxed cereals are 30% sugar. The same can be said for granola bars. Read the labels and buy wisely.
Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast helps you lose weight and maintain proper blood sugar levels and energy. It also helps set your metabolism for the rest of the day.
Sleep enough hours. Strive for eight hours of sleep at night. The reason is simple: when you get enough sleep, you reduce the amount of stress in your body and stress is a major contributing factor to heart disease. Did you know that good regular sleep pattern will help with weight loss? Sleep is essential for balancing your metabolism.
Eat less animal fats. Reduce red meat consumption to twice per week. Replace it with fish at least twice per week, focusing on cold water fish such as salmon, halibut and cod.
Avoid excessive dairy. Organic Greek yogurt is wonderful and you can add berries and granola to it to make a nutritious meal.
Read your labels. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s not something you want in your body. Reading your food labels will help you determine what type of ingredients might be hidden in your food such as artificial sweeteners and flavors, bi-products, dyes or chemicals.
Greatly increase your intake of fruit and vegetable. Try going beyond your peas and carrots to include more root vegetables and kale. If you like carrots and potatoes, leave the skin on because the skin holds roughly 33% of the nutrition.
Drink wine – in moderation. A small glass of red wine is recommended but similar benefits can be gained from pure 100% red grape juice.
Eat unrefined grains. Simple grains such as white flour can cause an inflammatory response in the body and that’s not what you want. Instead, look for breads made from whole grains.
For breakfast a great source of nutrition and fibre is real oatmeal. Use organic, slow cooking oats. Here’s a recipe that you’ll find easy to make:
FFL Yum Yum Oatmeal-4 cups of water, 1 cup of slow cooking organic oats, 1 cup of steel cut oats, a mix of raisins, berries, cubed apple, walnuts, slivered almonds, or hemp seeds, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Boil the water. As soon as it boils, turn the stove off and add the two types of oats. Stir, then add the raisins and other goodies. And don’t forget that cinnamon. It’s your magical ingredient because it is nature’s anti-inflammatory. Stir again and cover. When you get up in the morning your oatmeal is all cooked and ready to re-heat.
Exercise. Cardio-vascular exercise is terrific but we knew that decades ago. Now we know that resistance training is beneficial for most people even in their eighties. It is especially beneficial to those with diabetes. Resistance training helps maintain bone mass and boosts metabolism by adding lean muscle tissue. Unlike walking, however, a program designed and instructed by a Certified Personal Trainer is highly recommended.
Article by Fit For Life (FFL)Team, www.fit-4-life.ca