Heart diseases are preventable, which means you have the power to fight off the most lethal disease in the world. Although there are super-powers within all of us, in this case scenario, the only power you´ll need is the power of making small changes.
Here are a few habits that will help you maintain good health:
- Swap processed food for healthier choices, like mixing Greek yogurt with frozen berries and spread over pancakes. You´ll get rid of maple syrup (which is fructose syrup, meaning sugar, and has nothing to do with the “maple” tree) and you´ll add probiotics, protein and natural antioxidants.
- Avoid sodas, energy drinks and commercial juices or teas. Your precious body only needs water and green tea.
- Watch out for added sugars, sodium and fat in foods; don´t mind if they come naturally.
- Eat healthy fast foods from vegetables and fruits. Prepare ahead, salads in a jar are ready to eat and easy to take with you at any time.
- Eat while sitting down while using forks and knives. If you are standing up you´ll get distracted and overeat. And, anything that doesn´t require the use of utensils is pretty much a bad choice.
- Avoid eating in front of the TV or the computer. Getting distracted from food will make you eat more and you might not even realize you have eaten, ending up with calories not counted for.
- Avoid grazing. Small and tiny bites are mostly fat (peanuts and crackers, anyone?) and sugary sources. Same concept applies for appetizers and “gourmet” finger foods.
- Use herbs and spices, these will enhance the flavor and you´ll avoid using too much salt.
- Reduce your risk of high blood pressure, a.k.a. the “silent killer”, by keeping your sodium in check. Look for the nutrition facts label; check the ingredient list of products. Aim for 2.3 grams a day.
- Steer clear of the “salty six”: food that can pack excess sodium in your diet such as breads and rolls, cold cuts, pizza, chicken nuggets and other finger foods, canned soup and sandwiches. Swap a serving or two of these for some veggies; look for the low sodium version of these products.
- Go veggie! These are high in fiber for a good digestion and longer satisfaction, rich in nutrients like vitamin A and C, folate, and potassium and are low calorie. Go for variety and color, the more colorful your plate, the merrier.
- When eating grains, choose whole grains. Studies have shown that people who eat more whole grains tend to have a healthier weight. Besides being rich in nutrients it provides fiber which affects fullness and satisfaction. Stay satisfied longer.
- Get moving. Physical activity doesn´t have to be difficult or expensive. Walking is simple, easy, safe and best of all free! Start with 30 minutes a day to achieve better heart health. It works!
Take good care, make it happen!
What Is the DASH Eating Plan? (June 6, 2014). Accessed February 15, 2015, from National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash
No time for exercise? Try our Top 10 Tips to get more! (January 3, 2015). Accessed February 15, 2015, from American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/GettingActive/No-time-for-exercise-Try-our-Top-10-Tips-to-get-more_UCM_442855_Article.jsp
Simin Liu, M. J. (September, 1999). Whole-grain consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: results from the Nurses’ Health Study. Accessed February 15, 2015, from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/412.short
Sodium, S. (October 7, 2014). A closer look at the Salty Six. Accessed February 15, 2015, from American Heart Association: http://sodiumbreakup.heart.org/closer-look-salty-six/