Quick Tips For a Healthy Heart

| June 29, 2012

Healthy Heart

Eat Whole Grains:  Start your day off with some whole grain oatmeal or whole grain cereal.  The benefits will last throughout the day and the fiber and complex carbohydrates in whole grains help you feel fuller for longer.

Portion Control:  Most Americans eat super-sized meals, with portions that are double the size recommended for good health.  Over-sized portions can contribute to weight gain and high cholesterol.  An easy way to practice portion control for a meal is by using your hand.  One serving of meat or fish is about what fits in the palm of your hand.

Eat Healthy Food:  Load your plate with fruits and veggies.  Five to nine servings a day help to lower LDL “bad” cholesterol.  Antioxidants in these foods may provide that benefit or it may be that the more fruits and vegetables we eat the less fatty foods we are eating.  Either way it will also help lower blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight.

Nuts are Good for Cardiovascular Health:  Need a Snack?  Why not try a handful of nuts, it’s a tasty treat that helps in lowering cholesterol.  Nuts are high in monounsaturated fat, which lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol while leaving HDL “good” cholesterol intact.  Several studies have shown people who eat about an ounce of nuts a day have lower risk of heart disease.  Nuts can be high in fat and calories as well, so stick to just a handful.

More Beans, Less Potatoes:  You need carbohydrates for energy, but some do your body more good than others. Whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and beans have more fiber and raise sugar levels less. These help lower cholesterol and leave you feeling fuller longer. Other carbs, like those found in white bread, white potatoes, white rice and pastries, boost blood sugar levels more quickly, leading you to feel hungry sooner, and may increase risk of overeating.

Get Moving:  Just 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week can help you maintain an ideal weight and will help reduce your chance of developing clogged arteries.  You don’t have to exercise for 30 minutes straight you can break it up into 10 minute increments.

Walk it Off:  If you are not used to exercising or hate the thought of a gym, try going for a walk.  Walking is easy and healthy for you – all you need is good pair of shoes.  Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise such as walking lowers risk of stroke and heart disease, it also helps you lose weight and keeps bones strong.  If you are just starting out try 10 minutes of walking and gradually build up from there.

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Category: Get Moving, Heart Health, Nutrition

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