Every day should be World Heart Health Day, considering the enormous job your heart does every minute of your life. Yet, heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide – even as most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented simply by lifestyle adjustments. So take today to think about whether an unhealthy diet, obesity, physical inactivity and excessive tobacco and alcohol use might be contributing to your risk. Banin Shanine, Fitness First’s nutrition manager, recommends these changes:
• Control your food portions: Follow the “small bowl” diet, as portion control is the easiest way to lose weight if you need to. Excess food on your plate leads to excess calories and eventually to unhealthy weight gain.
• Keep animal fat, dairy and processed snacks – sweet and savory – to an absolute minimum. Unlike avocados, nuts and seeds, these are unhealthy fats.
• Dramatically reduce or eliminate candy and soft drink consumption. These simple carbs tend to contain refined sugar.
• Avoid foods that are high in sodium – various crisps and fast food, for example – as sodium is known to have a negative impact on blood pressure and can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases.
• Replace what you are removing with nourishing, nutritious whole foods, such as an assortment of vegetables, fish and plant oils.
• Incorporate regular exercise, starting with walking, to help prevent heart disease. Exercise can help make your heart muscle stronger and also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Featured photo: Unsplash/Cason Asher