Eat healthy, drink lots of water, have enough sleep and exercise. This will give you a higher chance of losing weight and improving your health, which would result to a new, healthier you.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Is Your Diet Hurting Your Heart

The first step for a heart-healthy diet is to reduce your intake of bad fats, especially saturated and trans fats. Eating a healthy diet and being physically active can help to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. In multiple studies over the past 15 years, people who ate diets high in omega-3s had 30 to 40 percent reductions in heart disease, and fewer cases of sudden death from arrhythmia. It is important to also include in your diet plenty of yellow and orange coloured fruits and vegetables.

Eating a diet that contains plenty of soluble fibre could also help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood. If you are eating a balanced diet, you don't need to cut down on kidneys, eggs and prawns unless your GP or dietitian has advised you to do this. Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds. Whilst some people believe dairy is high in saturated fats, it is important to not cut this food group out completely from your diet. While cutting back on red meat can help, there are many other foods that you can cut back on or remove from your diet that will have an even greater impact on your cholesterol.

A change in diet and lifestyle can result in a five to 25 percent reduction in total cholesterol. Eating healthy food can help lower your LDL cholesterol level, and a healthy diet may help protect the body from the damaging effect of cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends that people include at least two servings of fish/week, particularly fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, anchovies and herring), in their diets. A cholesterol-lowering diet in which 20 percent of the calories come from walnuts may reduce LDL cholesterol by 12 percent. Include soy protein in your diet in place of animal protein when possible. Foods that lower cholesterol can also be fortified with plant sterols or stanols to help block absorption of dietary cholesterol.

You can raise your HDL cholesterol level by quitting smoking if you smoke, losing weight if you are overweight and exercising. As with any food, good or bad, eating too much can cause weight gain, and being overweight places you at higher risk of heart disease. If you are overweight, the chances are almost 100% that you have a problem with high cholesterol. Choosing healthy vegetarian foods (some of which are believed to be negative calorie foods) and avoiding those high in fats, sodium and cholesterol will lower or control cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and associated problems like obesity and overweight. However, for the vast majority of people diagnosed with high cholesterol, you can improve your profile by reducing body weight (if you are overweight), increasing physical activity, and following a cholesterol-busting nutrition program.

The most well known nutrient that has been show to help lower blood cholesterol is soluble fiber. Packed with soluble fiber, oats can bring down bad LDL cholesterol. For every 1 or 2 grams of soluble fiber you eat daily, you lower LDL cholesterol levels by 1 percent. Some of the best soluble fiber rich foods include; oatmeal, barley, lentils, Brussels sprouts, peas, beans (kidney, lima, black, navy, pinto), apples, blackberries, pears, raisins, oranges, grapefruit, dates, figs, prunes, apricots, broccoli, and sweet potato. The bottom line then is to increase intake of vegetables and fruits and thus increase the amount of fiber consumed, go easy on saturated fats, avoid junk food, use fresh herbs, eat fresh salads and drink fresh juices.

Exercise goes hand-in-hand with a healthy diet for controlling cholesterol. Even moderate exercise can help improve your cholesterol, as well as triglycerides, and blood pressure. If the weather permits, walking outside is always a great way to get exercise and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. To benefit, you still must eat low-fat foods,watch your weight, and get more exercise. As a first step to lowering cholesterol, experts recommend therapeutic lifestyle changes involving diet control and regular physical exercise. Throw in some exercise and a glass or two of wine daily, and you've got the makings of a healthy lifestyle.
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Paul Rodgers specializes in marketing natural health and beauty products
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