10 heart healthy practices to incorporate into your life
We have come to the end of February, the month dedicated to heart health. I hope you have all learnt something from all the articles I have shared on heart health. In case you missed any, you can find them all on my blog. Click here for access.
As we close off this month, I would like to leave you with 10 healthy practices that can go a long way to preventing or reversing heart disease.
Eat a healthy diet. Increase healthy, whole foods rich in nutrients and phytonutrients (plant molecules). Aim for at least 8 to 10 servings of colourful fruits and vegetables every day. Eat different colours for different benefits. Drink a lot of vegetable juices and smoothies to increase your intake of fruit and vegetables. Get the nutribullet detox and nutrient extractor to help you achieve this goal.
Steady your blood sugar. Studies show blood sugar imbalances contribute to heart disease. Eat whole and unrefined carbohydrates. Eat carbohydrate-rich foods in their natural state and never eat carbohydrate-rich foods alone, and avoid processed sugars with carbohydrates such as table sugar, soda and processed juices
Increase your fibre intake. Fiber is very instrumental in digestion and regulation of blood sugar. However, most foods we eat are low in fibre. High-fiber foods include vegetables, nuts, seeds and lower-sugar fruits like green apples and watermelon.
Avoid processed, junk foods. That includes sodas, juices, crisps, chips and diet drinks, which adversely impact sugar and fat metabolism. Research shows liquid-sugar calories have become the most significant contributor to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Don’t be fooled that 100 percent fruit juice is healthy. Juices are mostly pure, liquid sugar. The processing that the fruit goes through strips away most of the fruit’s fibre.
Increase omega-3 fatty acids. Foods like chia seeds, flax seeds, avocado and fish are rich in healthy omega 3 fats and are also anti-inflammatory. Healthy fat found in these foods actually benefits your heart by improving your overall cholesterol profile. Most people think all fat is bad, but there is healthy fat that should be eaten often. Plant foods that are rich in healthy fats do not contain cholesterol and so should not be avoided because of fear of cholesterol.
Eliminate all trans or hydrogenated fat. Hydrogenated fat is found mainly in margarine, processed oils and many baked goods and processed foods like cookies and biscuits. Even when the label states “no trans fats,” the word “hydrogenated” indicates that the product contains trans-fat in one or more of the ingredients. Use healthy oils instead such as extra-virgin, organic, cold-pressed, olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, avocado oil, organic sesame oil, and other nut oils. However, remember that even oils that are considered to be healthier should be consumed in moderation.
Avoid or reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol can raise triglycerides (a type of blood fat), contribute to fatty liver and create sugar imbalances. Reducing or eliminating alcohol intake lowers inflammation, which contributes to heart disease and nearly every other chronic disease. Don’t be fooled by adverts that alcohol is good for your health. It is not. It is only when taken in moderation (less than 2 drinks per day and no more than 6 per week) that it is not harmful to health.
Take quality supplements. Combined with a healthy diet and exercise program, supplements can dramatically improve cardiovascular health. Many cardiovascular diseases are worsened by nutrient deficiencies and are enhanced by specific nutrients that we may not get adequate amounts of in our diet. The following supplements have been shown to be excellent for cardiovascular health.
A fish oil or omega 3 oil supplement that contains EPA/DHA.
Co-enzyme Q 10
Matcha Green tea.
I will talk about these in more detail in a later newsletter, but I urge you to read up more about them and get some. Don’t buy cheap. Cheap supplements are made with cheap ingredients.
9. Get out and move! Research shows 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least five times a week can benefit your heart. After all, your heart is a muscle, and muscles need exercise. If you feel stronger and more capable, high-intensity interval training (also called burst training) and strength training help to build muscle, reduce body
fat composition and maintain strong bones. You simply cannot have a healthy body without sufficient exercise.
10. Manage stress levels. Stress alone can cause a heart attack. Sadly, chronic stress often triggers a cascade of events that cause that final, fatal heart attack. Among its problems, stress increases inflammation, raises your cholesterol and blood sugar, increases blood pressure and even makes your blood more likely to clot. Find your pause button to manage stress and relax. Deep breathing, making time for fun activities, and learning to balance work and life can be of great benefit.
Once again, these are merely reminders of what you already know. However, I hope that the more you hear these, the more likely you are to make the necessary changes to your life and health.
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