If you want to improve your overall health and protect your heart, simple changes in your lifestyle and diet can make a big impact. For these changes to stick, you should focus on adding more healthful foods, rather than just taking things out of your daily diet and routine. Here's 5 ways to make that happen!
(BPT) - Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body. It provides your body with the necessary oxygen and nutrients vital for daily survival. If you want to improve your overall health and protect your heart, simple changes in your lifestyle and diet can make a big impact.
For these changes to stick, focus on adding more healthful foods, rather than just taking things out of your daily diet and routine.
1. Add more seafood
Seafood is not only a good source of protein, but also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The Seafood Nutrition Partnership, citing the American Heart Association, advises eating at least two servings of seafood per week for enough omega-3s and nutrients to show improved health. In particular, fatty fish such as salmon, trout, pollock, barramundi, mackerel, herring, sardines and albacore tuna have the highest amounts of the heart-healthy nutrients that help prevent cardiovascular disease.
To incorporate more fish into your diet, start with the recipe for Easy Lemon Pepper Salmon from The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
When selecting fish, whether fresh, frozen or canned, look for the MSC blue fish label to know you’re choosing sustainable seafood that’s good for you and good for the ocean. The MSC is a global nonprofit dedicated to protecting wild seafood for generations to come. By taking the simple step to look for the MSC label when purchasing seafood, you can help protect oceans from overfishing, support fishermen and fishing communities, and promote traceability — from the ocean to your delicious seafood dish.
2. Seek healthy fats
Not all fats are created equal. With all the fad diets that come and go, the Mediterranean diet continues to top media and nutritionists' lists of best plans for healthy eating. It's also been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The most commonly used fat in the Mediterranean diet is olive oil, which is great for cooking, salad dressings and more. Other healthy fats come from the foods themselves, like the unsaturated fats found in fish, nuts, seeds or avocados.
The Mediterranean approach is also plant-based, adding proteins like fish, lean meat, poultry and dairy (in moderation).
3. Opt for whole grains
Also featured in the Mediterranean plan are whole grains like brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat bread, oats and quinoa. Less-processed grains are healthier because they have both higher nutritional value and better fiber content.
The nutrients in many whole grains — including potassium, iron, phosphorus and more — help boost your heart health. The higher fiber in whole grains aids digestion and can help you keep your weight down, which can also improve your heart's function.
4. Focus on plants
You've probably heard a lot about plant-based eating recently. That's because of the growing awareness of both the health and the environmental benefits of focusing a larger portion of your diet on plants. Including a wider range of differently colored fruits and vegetables — plus nuts, seeds, beans and legumes — will give you the greatest nutritional benefits.
Plants offer tons of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber — and many contain more protein than you might expect. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating more plant-based proteins is associated with lower heart disease risk in middle-aged adults.
5. Amp up your movement
Another vital ingredient in a heart-healthy lifestyle is exercise. Adding more daily movement helps you look and feel better, inside and out. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, plus muscle-strengthening exercises at least twice a week. It's always best to consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise plan.
Choosing whole foods over processed foods will improve your heart health. Using herbs and spices can also make your meal plan easier to stick to. Not only do some seasonings — like ginger, garlic and turmeric — offer positive health benefits, but they can also reduce unhealthy cravings by satisfying your taste buds.
What’s good for your heart also can be good for the environment. When you make looking for sustainably-sourced, heart-healthy products part of your routine, you create a win-win for your health and for the health of the planet.
Life can be a series of challenges that sometimes feel overwhelming. When life throws you one curveball after another, it's important to be equipped with the tools and knowledge necessary to set your mind on a healthy path. Here are three activities that you can do to recenter yourself and reduce the effects of stress.
Regular meditation can help you to lower your blood pressure, calm your mind and achieve a better feeling of general well-being. Meditation can also help to relieve stress, anxiety and a host of other issues. Meditation Oasis describe how as the stress and tension leave your muscles, the body receives the message that it's time to reset itself. Once you get into the habit of practicing meditation, it will help you to center your life and priorities. The deep, cleansing breaths associated with mindful meditation are grounding ways to start and finish every day.
Yoga and aromatherapy work hand in hand to recenter you and your life. In the morning, practicing sun salutations in a room infused with refreshing scents, like grapefruit and orange, will start your day off right. Aromatherapy works by activating sensors in your brain to produce the feel-good serotonin that naturally improves your mood and motivates you to be more productive. doTERRA suggests that aromatherapy yoga relaxes you, calms your mind and body, and prepares you for meditation. After a tough day, the relaxing poses and breathing exercises of yoga, combined with soothing scents, like lavender, will calm tense muscles and clear the mind. Aromatherapy yoga can also help to regulate sleep patterns, which contributes to a more positive outlook on life.
A daily brisk walk can be the best medicine that you can provide your body when you're looking to relieve stress. The endorphins that are delivered through exercise provide an immediate boost to your mood. The physical act of walking increases cardiovascular fitness, strengthens bones and improves endurance levels. Walking can also be a meditative experience if done properly. Be sure to practice deep and intentional breathing as you walk so that your emotional health also benefits from the exercise.
Taking the time to practice these three activities regularly will help you to be proactive about taking care of your mental and emotional well-being. The power of these activities is exponential when they all become part of your routine. By taking care of yourself, you can reset, recenter and regain control of your life
Staying indoors and wrapping up in a blanket is one way to avoid winter’s frigid weather, but less exposure to the sun can also put you at risk of a vitamin D deficiency. When you need a quick way to warm up on a cold day, try this creamy Pressure Cooker Corn Chowder.
Beat Winter Blues with a Little Help From Vitamin D
Wholesome ingredients can help up your intake during the dark days of winter
(Family Features) Staying indoors and wrapping up in a blanket is one way to avoid winter’s frigid weather, but less exposure to the sun can also put you at risk of a vitamin D deficiency. Milk is the primary source of vitamin D in the American diet, according to research published in the FASEB Journal, making it a great choice on dark winter days.
An 8-ounce glass of milk provides 30 percent of the daily value of vitamin D, so just three cups of milk each day will provide 90 percent of your body’s recommended daily requirements. Milk is also an easy way to get other essential nutrients like B vitamins for energy, high-quality protein for lean muscle and vitamin A for a healthy immune system.
When you need a quick way to warm up on a cold day, try this creamy chicken corn chowder recipe that can be made with a pressure cooker. Cooked with wholesome ingredients like milk, chicken and potatoes and topped with bacon and green onions, it’s an easy and delicious addition to your weekly meal rotation. For more recipes to warm up your winter, visit milklife.com.
Pressure Cooker Corn Chowder
Nutritional information per serving: 190 calories; 5 g fat; 1.5 g saturated fat; 35 mg cholesterol; 14 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 530 mg sodium; 52 mg calcium (6% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat-free milk.SOURCE:
With overscheduled days full of early-morning conference calls and endless to-do lists, it’s impossible to avoid the stress that comes with working hard. Hand-in-hand with all that pressure, a lack of quality sleep can lead to aches and pains, stiffness, sore muscles, tingling or numbness in your extremities, general fatigue, as well as an increased risk of getting sick. If you’re stressed and experiencing trouble sleeping, these tips can help ensure you’re getting the rest you need to improve your sleep health.
3 Steps Toward Better Sleep
(Family Features) With overscheduled days full of early-morning conference calls and endless to-do lists, it’s impossible to avoid the stress that comes with working hard. Hand-in-hand with all that pressure, a lack of quality sleep can lead to aches and pains, stiffness, sore muscles, tingling or numbness in your extremities, general fatigue, as well as an increased risk of getting sick.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night. In fact, a survey by Mattress Firm showed a correlation between stress and those who receive less sleep than recommended.
Twice as many stressed people get fewer than five hours of sleep each night compared to those who are not stressed. What’s more, those who are stressed are five times more likely to experience insomnia at least once a month.
The proper amount and quality of sleep can have a dramatic impact on your life. If you’re stressed and experiencing trouble sleeping, these tips from the sleep experts at Mattress Firm can help ensure you’re getting the rest you need to improve your sleep health.
Minimize technology use before you head to bed. The survey found that quality of sleep is negatively impacted because of stress-induced technology use. For example, those who are stressed are 60 percent more likely to watch TV an hour before bed, more than twice as likely to post to social media an hour before bed, twice as likely to check email an hour before bed and more than 40 percent more likely to sleep with their phones next to their beds.
Ensure your body is getting adequate support. What felt comfortable to sleep on eight years ago may not provide the support your body needs today. Your weight, pressure points, ailments, etc. can change over the course of time, so it’s important to check the mattress tag. If it’s more than 8 years old, it is time to replace it. Another way to make sure your body has the proper support and alignment is to figure out your sleep position and select the right pillows to support your body. This can help alleviate tossing and turning, and provide a more comfortable night of sleep.
Avoid nighttime snacking. About 24 percent of extremely stressed people indulge in a snack an hour before bed, according to the survey. There are many food and drink options that encourage a good night’s sleep more than others, such as tryptophan-rich foods like dairy, nuts and seeds, bananas, honey and eggs. Conversely, foods and medications with caffeine and foods with high-fat content should be avoided. The foods you choose are important, but also pay attention to the timing of when you eat and drink. Even fighting stress with an afternoon espresso can affect your ability to sleep hours later when your head hits the pillow.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
When it comes to advice about healthy living, there are opinions nearly every place you turn. The medical community generally agrees that slow and steady is the way to win the race toward healthy living. Adopting a broad set of healthier habits can deliver results over time and foster a new way of living that promotes your overall health and wellbeing.
Healthy Living Habits that Work
(Family Features) When it comes to advice about healthy living, there are opinions nearly every place you turn. Unfortunately, a great deal of that information is based on fad diets and trendy workouts that may deliver quick results but don’t promote a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.
The medical community generally agrees that slow and steady is the way to win the race toward healthy living. Adopting a broad set of healthier habits can deliver results over time and foster a new way of living that promotes your overall health and wellbeing.
Aim for balance. A diet that combines healthy levels of protein and carbohydrates from all the food groups is the surest way to deliver your body the vitamins and nutrients you need for optimal health. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans call for an eating plan that is centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and reduced-fat dairy foods, rounded out by lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts for protein. When planning your meals, be sure to limit saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugar.
Know when to say when. Building a healthy lifestyle is about more than eating the right foods. It also means keeping your calorie count in check. That means keeping the amount you eat and the portion size in mind. Work with your doctor or a nutritionist to determine your body’s true caloric needs, which can vary depending on numerous factors such as your age, activity level and overall health. Then get smart about the portion sizes that will help you stay within those parameters. Initially, you may want to weigh out portions but soon you’ll be able to recognize and adjust your portions on sight.
Set your body in motion. Increasing your activity level not only helps burn calories and boosts your metabolism, it also helps tone your muscles and improve overall body condition by promoting healthy blood flow. The exact amount of exercise you need will vary depending on your goals, age and physical ability. You may need to work up to the optimal level, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week for most adults.
Replace what you lose. A strong workout may help you shed calories, but it also can deplete your body of essential fluids. Staying hydrated is crucial to keep your body functioning properly, from regulating your body temperature to providing the lubrication your joints and muscles need to keep you in motion. Rehydrating during and after exercise is important for getting the most out of your workout. For example, try incorporating an electrolyte beverage, such as Propel Electrolyte Water, which is the only water with enough electrolytes to help replace what is lost in sweat and supports hydration by stimulating thirst and promoting fluid retention. The 10 flavors contain no calories and provide B vitamins to support metabolism as part of a daily diet and antioxidant vitamins C and E. Learn more at PropelWater.com.
Give yourself a break. Most experts agree it’s OK to indulge and enjoy your favorite treat occasionally. Skipping a day at the gym won’t end your efforts either. The key is to make those allowances an exception rather than the norm, skipping one day instead of three or eating a sliver of pie, not a giant slice. Rewarding yourself within reason is a good way to stay motivated and create a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Interested in Publishing on Living Well IDEAS?
Send your query to the Publisher today!