Healthy Lifestyle Tips to Reduce Body Fat and Improve your Heart Health
Here’s why keeping your weight in check is so important for heart health, and how a heart-healthy diet can help you control your weight.
Diet and Lifestyle to Control Weight and Promote Heart Health
Enjoy a healthy, well-balanced diet
It’s no secret that a healthy, well-balanced diet is important for good health. But it bears repeating that eating the right foods – and not eating too much – is key to weight management, which in turn helps promote heart health.
Low-fat proteins from a combination of plant and animal sources will help keep saturated fat intake down, while satisfying hunger at the same time. They’re also going to be the lowest calorie choices, too. Plant-proteins are naturally cholesterol-free, and seafood provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA.
Colourful fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, should be your go-to carbohydrates. They’re nutrient-rich, yet relatively low in calories, which makes them the best choices for meeting your carbohydrate needs. Their fibre and water content help to fill you up, and adequate intake of certain fibres – such as the soluble fibre found in foods like apples, oats and beans – are associated with lower levels of cholesterol in the blood, as long as you stick to a low-fat diet. And when you focus on these “good” carb sources, you’ll wind up eating fewer foods that have a lot of sugar and refined carbs, which can rack up calories quickly.
Small amounts of healthy fats, such as a sprinkle of nuts, a drizzle of olive oil or a few slices of avocado, can boost flavour and nutrition in calorie-controlled meals. Using fats thoughtfully and sparingly will help you with calorie-control, since fats are more calorie-dense than either proteins or carbohydrates.
Cardiovascular exercise – exercise that boosts your breathing and heart rate –promotes heart health in a number of ways. Like any other muscle, your heart responds positively to exercise, becoming more efficient at pumping blood and delivering oxygen to your tissues. You also burn calories while you exercise, which can help in your weight-loss efforts, as well as to maintain a healthy body weight. Regular exercise also helps keep blood pressure under control and is a great stress-reliever.
Keeping both blood pressure and stress levels in check is important to the health of your heart.
MS, RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND,
Senior Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training, Herbalife Nutrition.