February is Heart Month and I've been talking about various heart ailments, so now it's time for some preventive care. How do you care for your heart?
Did you know that 80% of cardiac disease is preventable through lifestyle, nutrition and education? You can mitigate a lot of risk simply by eating right, exercising and managing stress.
Eat heart healthy
There are plenty of heart healthy options for nutrition. It doesn't have to be difficult to eat well and support your heart through good nutrition. Following are some ways you can eat well and take care of your heart.
- Eat primarily plant-based - if you must eat meat, make it a side dish rather than the main event. There are plenty of plant-based sources of protein so you can easily live without meat.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables - eat from the rainbow. Your fruits and vegetables should be all different colors. Each color represents different nutrients so mix it up.
- Eat whole grains - forego the refined carbs and choose whole grains instead. Refined carbs do little for you nutritionally and convert to sugar quickly in your body. Whole grains have fiber and nutrients that are beneficial and will also enter your bloodstream more slowly, allowing your body to maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
- Eat healthy fats - again, forego unhealthy fats, especially animal sourced saturated fats and choose mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. Eliminate all trans fats, which are usually found in heavily processed foods. Look for anything that says 'partially hydrogenated' on the label, to find trans fats. Good sources of fats include: nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and nut oils.
- Control portion sizes - it's important to know how much food you're consuming. Measure and weigh your food until you can judge proper portion sizes from each food group.
Plan your meals in advance so you aren't deciding what to eat when you're starving. Prepare as much as you can in advance and batch cook so you're always ready to serve a healthy meal quickly.
Exercise for your heart
Exercise doesn't have to be a chore. Walk with your friends, dance, play with the kids, do yard work, do anything that requires you to move. Get your heart rate up and get your 'sweat' on.
Find ways to move your body every day.
- take the stairs instead of the elevator
- park the car far from your destination so you have to walk a little
- take a walk at lunchtime or during breaks
- recruit friends to join you
Stress is an important way for your body to protect itself. When danger is present, your body releases the hormones needed to get you out of the dangerous situation and then go back to normal.
Unfortunately, in our busy, stressful lives the stress signal is rarely shut off and we are in a constant state of high alert. This can have a very negative impact on our health, and especially our heart health.
It's important to find ways to manage stress so that you are able to flip the switch and turn off the stress alarm in your body.
- walk in nature
- take deep long slow breaths
- listen to soothing music
- talk it out with someone who is a good listener
- practice yoga
- get lost in a good book
Stress is an inevitable part of life but it doesn't have to be chronic if you find ways to manage it that work for you. It's important to stay on top of it though. It requires your rapt attention so it doesn't get the best of you.
Stay heart healthy
Taking steps every day toward a heart healthy lifestyle is easy when you do a little at a time. Everything you do tin the right direction is a positive step forward. Small incremental changes are the easiest to sustain and before you know it, you're living a healthy lifestyle. It becomes a habit but you have to work on it until it's automatic. I can help if you need it.
Since June 2019, I decided to hold myself accountable for walking my talk. Several years ago, I was able to take off 135 pounds and essentially save my own life. I regained some of that weight in the last couple of years and I’m working my way back down. I’ve lost over 40 pounds since I began in June and have exercised nearly every day since August.
If you choose to join me on this journey, I hope I am able to impart some nutritional and lifestyle wisdom. Even though I may have gone off the rails temporarily I can still share some of my first hand experience as well as my acquired knowledge and training to help you make the right changes to live your best life.
Do You Want Help?
Would you like to have more energy, lose weight, sleep better, and balance your hormones? I am launching another 5 week Sugar Detox Program beginning soon.
This program is open to anyone who:
- would like to get control of their sugar cravings
- feel better
- have an abundance of energy
- and an overall increase in well-being.
Aren’t you tired of feeling bloated and lethargic?
If you continue to follow the path you’re on, where will it lead you in six months? a year? Isn’t it time to take a different approach?
What you have done in the past hasn’t worked or at least has not stuck. I can help you change that. Click here for a free consultation. We’ll discuss your challenges and your goals for the coming year and see if we’re a good fit. You have nothing to lose except those nasty cravings.
As a health coach, I work with women who are facing serious health challenges like heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes or who have been diagnosed as having a precursor to a serious health issue such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. I help them make food and lifestyle changes so they can get healthy, live longer and enjoy a fuller, happier, more energetic life.
If you would like to have a free consultation about the health challenges you have and the improvements you would like to see in your health, click here to schedule a no strings attached call.