This month the focus will be around heart health “Skip to the Beat” with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. This topic of heart health, like many other health topics, revolves around the most important aspect of nutrition - diet. Heart health focuses on anti-inflammatory diets (one of my favorite topics!, and it isn’t just for heart health) and it gets right to the core of my beliefs: we all should limit our Meat, Dairy, Refine Sugars, Processed Foods and Caffeine while increasing your intake of whole foods (or at the very least make quality choices).
Let’s jump right in! I don’t believe in going after a strict diet or eliminating everything from the beginning. Instead my approach is to add one simply healthy change at a time. By adding one change, you will automatically start to crowd out other bad choices. Here are some examples of what you can start doing today:
Cleaning up the diet by eating more:
· Dark Chocolate (70% or higher cacao)
· Berries (especially blue berries)
· Green Tea
· Whole Grains
· Leafy Greens (kale, collard greens, spinach)
· Cauliflower, Asparagus
· Chia seeds (more fun facts coming on this Super Food), Flaxseed
· More Garlic (quick tip: I double or triple the garlic in my recipes)
· Olive Oils
· Omega 3’s like salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna (choose sustainable choices and low mercury options). Ask me about Juice Plus’s new Omega 3, plant based capsules
All of these are good for you (some in moderation), but yes these “do a body good” and can help reduce the risks of Heart Disease. Watch for more information in Bat, Crap, Crazy regarding studies on longevity and what these people are eating.
Crowding out the bad:
· Refined sugars
· Processed foods (white breads, pastas, crackers and cookies)
· Soda pop
· Fruit juices
These items you don’t need in your diet and are empty nutritionally giving you extra calories (actual makes you feel hungry and you’ll likely eat more)
Exercise / Stress Management:
· Commit to 3 times a week 30 minutes of walking (start shorter if you need too)
· Take a break, walk away, go outside for a 5 minute walk to reset
· Consider a yoga or meditation class (this helps me sleep)
· Spend time with friends and family that support you and your goals
· Make sure you develop your own tribe to go out have fun, laugh, cry and share - we are people who need connection. Find your person or people to connect with and confide in
Fun tip from Dr. Oz: Take your height and divided by 2, this is a rough guide to see how you are doing on your belly fat. Now measure the thickest part of your waist, hopefully it’s lower than that number. In my case, I’m 5’ 2” so divided by 2, my waist size should be 31” inches or less (at the thickest point). Don’t try to fool yourself with a “fake” waist size 😊.
· How is your sleep? Do you get at least 7-8 hours of solid sleep each night?
· Sleeping is key to good health and weight.
· Calcium develops in the arteries if you don’t get the right amount of sleep and is an early sign of heart disease.
Advice we already know:
· Quit Smoking if you can (maybe cut back if you can’t fully quit)
· Cut your salt intake
· Limit your alcohol
· Consume Zero trans fats
· Cut Saturated Fats (meat/dairy)
What I love about nutrition is the impact on our overall health. I believe in using whole real foods to help heal our bodies. I want to know what goes into my body and the cause and effect. Whatever we put in our body is either creating good healthy bacteria or helping bad unhealthy bacteria to grow. Remember, that one simple change starts you on the way to a healthier YOU!
Now keep in mind this is all about progress, not perfection. This month I will be posting tips and advice with recipes all aimed at Heart Health by lowering blood pressure and using more Antioxidants. Let’s do this together and make a difference with one simple change. Now it’s up to you. If this is just too much for you, contact me on how I can be a coach for you to put this in motion. My job is to make it easy for you to focus on the steps to get you to a more energized healthier version of you. Let’s work together and I’ll help you reach your goals.
Maybe your one simple change could be an annual check-up. When is the last time you saw the Doc? It is really a good idea to keep everything in check. This includes an annual eye exam, dental cleaning and exam as well as the other required check-up appointments necessary annually.
Now remember, these are my views and I always advise you check with your healthcare professional before making major dietary changes. I look forward to helping you become the best version of YOU!
Contact me for further information. Watch Facebook and Instagram for updates and healthy recipes are always added on my Pinterest Page.
Inspired by you…