Your Best Heart Health Tips!
We are in Part 3 of our Diet-Heart series. I am super excited for this week’s topic because it brings such hope. When you are at your doctor’s appointment and receive bad news it can feel very lonely, confusing and hopeless. This is why I love helping people move forward with nutrition, lifestyle and mindset changes that will improve their whole life! There are no gimmicks or expensive products. It is basic science, education and support.
In 2004, a worldwide case-controlled study determined that up to 90% of cardio vascular disease is caused by factors relating to lifestyle. These include lack of daily movement, poor sleep, a highly refined processed diet, smoking, familial diseases and lifestyle stress.
ALL of the factors listed above are within your total control. If you DO NOT have heart disease you hold the most power to make healthy changes so you never get it. If you DO have a heart diagnosis there are still many factors within your control to stop the progression and even reverse the effects.
There are some very basic changes you can make that are worth their weight in gold. You may struggle to adapt at first but once you have found alternatives you will feel so good you will never go back.
- Eat only whole foods. Eliminate as many boxed, packaged and pre-wrapped food products as possible. Eat fresh/frozen green beans instead of canned. Eat fresh/frozen meats instead of processed deli or packaged meats like nuggets. A huge factor with whole foods is to reintroduce organ meats to your diet. Remember how grandma always made liver and onions? She was onto something! Organ meats are some of the most nutrient dense foods and there are tons of palatable recipes out there. Go for it!
- Reduce or eliminate processed sugars and grains. Did you know that there are over 100 names for sugar and sugar substitutes that show up on food labels? Some you would never guess were really sugar, like rice extract or neotame which is a toxic sweetener that is up to 13,000x sweeter that table sugar. Wow! Also, the whole grains we eat are just turned into sugar for the body to use as energy or store as fat. The media hype about all the nutrients in grains is strictly marketing. There are MANY more nutrients in healthy meats, fats, veggies and fruits.
- Switch to only healthy fats. In the last article we discussed why certain processed oils like canola, corn and vegetable oil were causing major problem in our bodies. The healthy fats we need to replace them with are extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, butter, animal fats (chicken, beef, duck, etc) and coconut oil. Yes! Coconut oil IS a healthy fat. Go back to Week 1 of this series to read why saturated fats are not the real problem. Eggs, nuts and seeds also provide wonderful healthy fats.
- Regulate your sleep schedule. Sleep if vital to whole health. Our American dream driven nature and caffeine addiction is literally killing us. Scheduling regular sleep and wake times is setting yourself up for success and literally adding years to your life. Moderate your caffeine intake. Don’t use it as a crutch.
- Strive for daily movement. The benefits of daily exercise are obvious. What about “non-exercise”? Sitting at a desk all day staring at a computer is probably the worst thing we could be doing. Right now I am at my homemade stand up desk writing this article. I know others who have made work stations at their treadmills where they walk at a moderate pace as they read, type and talk on the phone. The standing and walking around is “non-exercise”. Evidence suggests that doing “non-exercise” can have a greater improvement than regular exercise alone. Find ways to eliminate sitting when possible. Get up and stretch on the hour. Walk around the halls of your work building. There are many bloggers out there with exercises you can do at your desk to keep muscles loose and blood pumping.
All of these changes will reduce your overall stress load and help your body be the best version it can to prevent or recover from disease. Start with just one of the above tips or dive in on all five.
Any positive change you can make today is a step toward better health and wellness tomorrow.