Start making the following lifestyle choices and you will benefit greatly and your heart and health will thank you for it.
Burn at least as many calories as you consume each day.
Learn how many calories you burn each day and don’t consume more calories through eating and drinking than you use up. This is a great start to maintain your weight. Increase the duration and intensity of your physical activity to either match or exceed the number of calories you take in. Target at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day of the week, but at least 4-5 days per week at least 30 minutes per day. Consistent physical activity will help you maintain your weight, and will most likely help you lose weight and help you achieve physical and cardiovascular fitness. If you can’t do at least 30 minutes at one time, you can add up 10-minute sessions throughout the day.
Eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups
It is not only the amount you eat that is important but what type of foods you eat that determine if your body is getting the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Nutrient-rich foods have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but are almost always lower in calories. To ensure you are getting the nutrients you need, choose foods like vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products and fat-free or low-fat dairy products most often. Fruits and Vegetables are high in vitamins,
minerals and fiber and they’re lower in calories. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables should help you manage your weight and lower your blood pressure.
|•||Whole grains that are unrefined contain fiber that may help lower your blood cholesterol and help provide that full feeling, helping with weight maintenance or reduction.|
|•||Eating oily fish containing omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, and herring at least twice a week has been shown in recent research may help lower your risk of death from coronary artery disease.|
Eat less of the nutrient-poor foods.
There is an optimum number of calories to consume each day based on your age and physical activity level and whether you are trying to maintain your weight or lose weight. Using your daily calorie allotment on a few high-calorie foods and drinks, but you most likely will not get the nutrients your body needs to be healthy. Limit your consumption of foods and beverages that are high in calories but low in nutrients, and limit the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium you eat. Begin to carefully read labels for the foods and drinks you consume; the Nutrition Facts panel will tell you what you need to know if yoy talke the effort to read them.
As you make your daily food decisions, consider making your eating choices on these recommendations:
Choose skinless poultry and lean meats and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.
|•||Select fat-free and low-fat dairy products.|
|•||Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.|
|•||Reduce intake of foods high in dietary cholesterol. Plan on eating less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day.|
|•||Minimize the amount of beverages and foods with added sugars.|
|•||Choose and prepare foods without using salt. Target to eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day.|
|•||If you drink alcohol, use moderation. For women that means one drink per day and for men, two drinks per day.|
|•||Follow the American Heart Association recommendations and keep your portion sizes either small or moderate. Avoid “Supersizing” for any meals.|
Heart Healthy Diet Guidelines — you should eat:
• 8-10% of the day’s total calories from saturated fat.
• 30 percent or less of the day’s total calories from fat.
• Less than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol a day.
• Limit sodium intake to 2400 milligrams a day.
• Just enough to achieve or maintain a healthy weight and reduce your blood cholesterol level. (Ask your doctor or registered dietitian what is a reasonable calorie level for you.)