How to Diet and Exercise for a Healthier Heart
Most of us know that a healthy diet and exercise can promote heart health, but how many of us truly know what foods are best or how much exercise is enough? Making the right food choices and exercising can both help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, so here are some tips to get you started on the right path.
A Heart-Healthy Diet
Variety and moderation are keywords we hear frequently in discussions regarding healthy eating, but what exactly should we include in our meals?
- Healthy Fats. Not all fats are created equally. In fact, some are quite good for you and should be incorporated into your daily diet. When cooking, opt for monounsaturated fats, like olive oil or canola oil. Avocadoes are also rich in monounsaturated fat. For polyunsaturated fats, look to nuts, seeds, and legumes, while omega-3 fats are found in fish. The kind of fat you will want to watch out for and avoid is known as trans fat, which exists in processed foods and snacks.
- Whole-Grain Bread. Surprised to see this on the list? While you should still avoid white breads, feel free to reach for the whole-grain bread, which is rich in fiber and necessary complex carbohydrates that are healthy for you.
- Fruits and Vegetables. Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet can add a lot of flavor and variety to your diet while providing you with crucial micro-nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Many are also rich in fiber.
- Cook Healthy. When cooking, remember that the healthiest way to prepare proteins like meat and poultry is by baking, broiling, or roasting. Be sure to trim any fat and skin prior to cooking.
- Beans, Peas, Lentils. You do not always have to consume meat to get protein. These can all provide both protein and fiber. Try to substitute beans for meat in some of your recipes.
- Dairy and Eggs. Try to stick to low-fat options when consuming milk, yogurt, or cheese products. Eggs can be healthy in moderation, but do not eat more than 4 egg yolks in a week. Still craving eggs? Use egg whites or egg substitutes.
Exercising for a Healthy Heart
Exercising helps your heart pump more blood, which means it is able to deliver more oxygen to your body that allows it to function more efficiently. It can also lower blood pressure and reduce bad cholesterol, which is also known as LDL. Too much bad cholesterol can clog your arteries and put you at risk for a heart attack.
For your heart, aerobic exercise is the most beneficial, causing you to breathe deeply and making your heart work hard to pump blood. Aerobic exercise includes:
- Walking, jogging, or running
If you are not fit, try to aim for or work up to 30 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week. You may want to consult with your doctor to work on an exercise regimen based on your personal needs and health.
Many of us do not take the time to exercise due to our busy schedules. However, there is always a way to make physical activity part of your daily lifestyle. Do housework at a quick pace and more often, rake leaves, mow the lawn, or do yard work. When you have a break, take a brisk walk.
At Home Healthcare understands the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for you and your loved ones.
Call us today to find out more about the services we offer and see what we can do for you and your family.