Protect yourself from the nation’s No. 1 killer with easy-to-embrace ways to significantly lower your risk of heart disease and improve your health.
Fad diets aren’t effective for long term weight loss. Losing weight too quickly can leave you tired and hungry, so you give up, regaining the weight as quickly as it came off. Keep your focus on the habits you want to change rather than on an ‘all or nothing’ approach.
Here are some tips on how you can eat your way to a healthier heart.
Did you know the average dinner plate in the 1960s was 9 inches compared to the average dinner plate today which is 12inches? Mastering portion control is key to losing weight.
Snacks can include; chopped fruit, low-fat natural yogurt, unsalted nuts or seeds, vegetable sticks, unsalted popcorn, rice cakes or oatcakes with reduced-fat hummus. Remember – snacking is simply meant to keep your hunger at bay, it is not a meal!
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Keep breakfast simple throughout the week; porridge topped with some chopped fruit, wholegrain varieties of cereal with reduced fat milk or reduced fat natural yogurt with fruit are all good options. Grab-and-go options can work well too well too – a simple glass of water and a piece of fruit is a good start to the day!
Rethink Your Drink
Alcohol is high in sugar and calories, and drinking more than the recommended amount can be harmful to your heart. A bottle of wine has 550 calories which is about the same as a burger and fries!
Load Up On Fruits & Vegetables
Try keeping chopped fruit and veg on hand as a snack, throw some frozen vegetables into your stews and curries, or adding some salad into your lunchtime sandwich or a handful of dried or fresh fruit to your breakfast cereal. Recommendations are 5-7 portions of fruit and veg every day.
Boost Your Fish Intake
Omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish such as salmon, trout, sardines and mackerel have been shown to lower the risk of irregular heart beat and a build-up of plaque in arteries. We should all be eating two portions of fish a week, with one being oily fish.
Shake the Salt
There is a proven link between a high salt diet and high blood pressure. 80% of the salt we eat is hidden in processed foods. To cut your risk of stroke and heart disease swap salt for black pepper, lemon juice, herbs and spices.
Drink More Water
Did you know we can mistake thirst for hunger? This means you might reach for some snack foods when your body really needs fluid. Whenever you feel hungry, try first drinking a glass of water. Add a few cucumber slices, lime, lemon or strawberries for an extra kick.
Swap bad fats for good fats. This means choosing less butter, processed meats and full fat products and swapping for heart-healthy fats like nuts, seeds and oily fish. These changes will mean a healthier cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
And finally , write a shopping list and stick to it. You should never shop when you’re hungry!
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