Here’s a fact to ponder: “8 in 10 cases of premature heart disease & stroke is preventable through healthy lifestyle behaviours.” It’s true! Many of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke are in YOUR control. You probably know them all but let’s review:
Make sure you get enough nutrient-dense foods. It’s not that hard. Be sure to include protein throughout the day, every day. Stock your refrigerator and add vitamin and fiber packed colourful fruits and vegetables to every meal. Enjoy smart carbs for the energy and fiber they provide. And use healthy fats when preparing meals. If you follow these steps you can forget about counting calories – it’s just that much easier!
Minimize Excess Salt
The recommended daily intake of sodium is 2,300 milligrams or less. This quantity is approximately one teaspoon of salt, which is not much! Certain populations are recommended to consume even less than that. Individuals at risk for heart disease should reduce their intake of sodium to 1,500 milligrams or less.
Understand Processed, Saturated Fats and Labels
Quite simply – cut down on processed foods. You’ve heard the statement: shop the outside aisles of the grocery store. Highly processed foods are a major source of saturated fats – extra ingredients (you can’t pronounce) are added to enhance flavour and preserve the shelf life.
- If buying something packaged, read the labels and look for lower sodium options … but watch the sugar content!
- Experiment with difference seasoning for flavours
- Reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet
- Eat limited amounts of fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, butter, hard margarines, lard, coconut oil, ghee (clarified butter), vegetable ghee, and palm oil
- Rule of thumb to live by: If you can’t pronounce or you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it.
Accept the Benefits of Movement
Moving dramatically lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke. It helps prevent and control risk factors such as: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, certain types of cancer, obesity. Read my blog with More than 20 Benefits to Exercise
By adding in some type of movement every day, you will sleep better – feel better – look better! You can reduce stress and increase energy. And, ultimately, you’ll maintain a healthy weight!
Take the Healthy Challenge
I challenge you to a 3 Step “Love Yourself” Mission:
- Turn off the TV
- Find recipes that you will want to eat
- Find your inner child, try new things, go dancing, try yoga, keep a garden, get a dog and go for a walk, go hiking, take up golfing, swimming, boxing, there are no limits to your imagination.
Getting started is the hardest part. Prevention is far better than illness! And remember, you don’t have to go it alone. Find a walking group, challenge a family member or friend, get your children involved, get started with a coach. Whatever it is, find a solution that fits! Make it a habit and wellness will follow.