10 Tips For Better Heart Health
Your heart works hard for you nonstop for your whole life. So show it some TLC. Making small changes in your habits can make a real difference to your ticker. You don’t have to work on all 10 steps at once. Even if you improve just one or two of these areas, you can make yourself less likely to get heart disease. Of course, the more tips on this list you follow, the better. So let’s get started.
- Aim for lucky number seven.
The next time you’re tempted to stay up later than you should, remember how comfy that pillow will feel — and how good a full night’s sleep is for your heart.
In one study, young and middle-age adults who slept 7 hours a night had less calcium in their arteries (an early sign of heart disease) than those who slept 5 hours or less or those who slept 9 hours or more.
The type of shut-eye they got was important, too. Adults who said they got good-quality sleep also had healthier arteries than those who didn’t sleep soundly.
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, or if you don’t feel refreshed after a full night in bed, talk to your doctor about how healthier sleep habits might improve your slumber.
- Keep the pressure off.
That cuff squeezing your arm at every doctor’s visit is important. It measures the amount of pressure flowing through your arteries with every heartbeat.
If your blood pressure gets too high, the extra force can damage artery walls and create scar tissue. That makes it harder for blood and oxygen to get to and from the heart. The heart has to pump harder and gets worn out faster. If it can’t get enough oxygen, parts can start to die.
Get your blood pressure checked every 3-5 years if you’re 18-39. If you’re 40 or older, or if you have high blood pressure, check it every year.
Cut back on salt, limit alcohol to no more than one to two drinks a day, favor healthy eating habits (think fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein) manage your stress, and work out. These changes are often enough to bring your blood pressure back down into the normal range. If not, your doctor might recommend you also take medication.
3. Slash Saturated Fats
To help your heart’s arteries, cut down on saturated fats, which are mainly found in meat and full-fat dairy products. Choose leaner cuts and reduced-fat options.
Also, totally quit trans fats, which are found in some processed foods. They drive up your “bad” cholesterol level. Check ingredient lists for anything that says “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” — those are trans fats.
If it’s been 5 or more years since your last cholesterol blood test, you’re probably due for one.
4. Find Out If You Have Diabetes
Millions of people do and don’t know it. That’s risky because over time, high blood sugar damages arteries and puts you at risk for heart disease.
Your doctor should test your blood sugar if you are 45 or older, if you are pregnant, or if you’re overweight and have other risk factors for diabetes.
If you find out that you do have diabetes, work with your doctor on your lifestyle (diet and exercise) and any medicine that you may need.
If you have borderline high blood sugar, also called prediabetes, take action now to turn things around.
One simple swap is to trade processed carbs (like white rice) for fiber-rich whole grains (like brown rice). Every positive change you make in what you eat and how active you are will help. Over time, you’ll be able to do more.
5. Move More
To keep it simple, you can aim for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of moderate exercise. That includes any activity that gets you moving around and breaking a slight sweat.
“If you’re doing nothing, do something. And if you’re doing something, do more,” Lloyd-Jones says.
Also, pay attention to how much time you spend seated, whether it’s at work, in your car, or on your couch at home. You want to cut that time down.
Break up long periods of sitting, and stand or walk while doing things like talking on the phone or watching TV.
6. Clean Up
Your heart works best when it runs on clean fuel. That means lots of whole, plant-based foods (like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds) and fewer refined or processed foods (like white bread, pasta, crackers, and cookies).
It’s time-tested wisdom. “The latest fads get overplayed by the media. But the core of what makes a heart-healthy eating pattern hasn’t changed for decades,” Lloyd-Jones says.
One of the fastest ways to clean up your diet is to cut out sugary beverages like soda and fruit juice, which lacks the fiber that’s in actual fruit.
7. Think beyond The Scale
Ask your doctor if your weight is OK. If you have some pounds to lose, it’s not just about calories and exercise.
Sure, you’ll probably want to change your eating habits and be more active. But there’s more to it than that.
For many people, “emotional eating” is where they find comfort and stress relief, and how they celebrate. So if it’s hard to change those patterns, it can help to talk with a counselor to find other ways to handle those situations.
8. Ditch The Cigarettes, Real & Electronic
Smoking and secondhand smoke are bad for your heart. If you smoke, quit, and don’t spend time around others who smoke as well.
E-cigarettes are popular, but they’re not completely problem-free. “They don’t contain the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, and they can help some people wean themselves off of smoking,” Lloyd-Jones says. “But they still do contain nicotine, so your goal should be to quit completely, not just switch to a less toxic version.”
9. Do More Of What You Love
Make it a point, too, to spend time with people you’re close to. Talk, laugh, confide, and enjoy each other. It’s good for your emotional health and your heart
10. Celebrate Every Step
Making changes like these takes time and effort. Think progress, not perfection. And reward yourself for every positive step you take. Ask your friends and family to support you and join in, too. Your heart’s future will be better for it
5 Weight Loss Tips You May Not Have Known!
- Rethink Portions
So many dieters underestimate how much they’re eating. Tools and gadgets can help, such as “MyFitnessPal” app which can gauge serving sizes. Also, try a portion control plate which helps for healthy servings of protein, vegetables & starches.
- Eat Three Squares
Grazing is good for cows; it may not be for people. Despite the barrage of advice about eating five or six times throughout the day instead of three large meals, research shows this strategy doesn’t always work for weight loss. Noshing often can make it way too easy to overeat and keeps you focused on food all day long (when all you want to do is stop thinking about it)
- Don’t Skip Breakfast
While the scientific verdict is still mixed on whether eating a morning meal aids weight loss, there is nothing negative about starting your day with a healthy bowl of cottage cheese and berries, or green yogurt and granola. Eating soon after waking jump-starts your metabolism and also helps you avoid the 11AM munchies that make a muffin or doughnut so tempting.
- Get Cooking
Research shows that people who prepare most of their own meals consume fewer calories, carbs, sugar and fat than those who cook rarely. If you insist you’re too swamped, try whipping up a big batch of something healthy like soup in a slow cooker on one of your non-busy days. Then, you can eat it throughout the week!
- Add Fiber & Fat
Fiber expands in your stomach and also takes time to digest, both of which help you feel full for longer. Good sources include whole grains, veggies, and whole fruit (not juiced). Healthy fats like olive oil and nut oils – in moderation – improve flavour, give you energy and help your body use certain nutrients.
Source: Womens Health Magazine
|•||3 spears asparagus|
|•||2 oz skinless chicken breast|
|•||¾ cup rice, brown cooked|
|•||1 ½ tsp oil, olive|
Spices / Flavoring
|•||¼ tsp salt, lite|
|•||¼ tsp black pepper|
Cook rice as directed on package and set aside. Whisk
together vinegar, oil, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper to
form marinade. Place tuna steaks in a suitable container
for marinating and pour marinade over tuna. Cover and
refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Turn steaks occasionally. Prepare
grill or broiler. Sauté pepper strips and onion in 1
tablespoon of the marinade until tender. Set aside. Grill
steaks for 2 minutes on each side while basting with
the marinade. Tuna should flake apart and be slightly
gray in color all the way through. Place tuna steaks on
cooked rice on serving plates and garnish with onion
and pepper strips. Enjoy!
Per serving: 311 calories, 23g protein, 11g total fat, 33g
Source: Healthy Transformations Recipes