These simple tricks will shrink your waistline and keep your ticker on trackBy: Mary Squillace
Two birds, meet one stone. When you adopt strategies to lose weight, chances are you’re also improving your heart health. These double-duty lifestyle tweaks will help you slim down while ramping up your heart health by lowering blood pressure (what’s a healthy blood pressure level?) and cholesterol and reducing your risk for stroke and heart disease. Read on to see which weight loss tricks are pulling more than their weight.
How to Eat for a Healthy Heart
Feel the urge to chow down when the pressure's on? You're not alone. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Obesity shows that stress can pack on pounds, and that stress reduction can curb weight gain. In addition to shrinking their waistline, women in the study who experienced the biggest reductions in stress tended to lose the most deep belly fat, which is associated with a higher risk of developing heart disease. Chronic stress that causes an increase in heart rate could also damage your artery walls, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). The next time you feel anxious, breathe deep and try to chill. Tackle stress with Slim Calm Sexy Yoga moves.
More: Reduce stress and fight fat with this pose
A number of studies have linked whole grain consumption to weight loss. Research from Tufts University found that people who consumed whole grains several times a week had less belly fat than people who didn’t. (Try it! Lose more weight with less effort when you use the Lean Belly Prescription Plan) At the same time, eating more whole grains lowers your risk for heart failure, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Get your fill by loading up on whole-wheat breads and pastas, brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-grain cereals.
Free Guide: Download 9 tasty, heart-healthy recipes!
Not only are added sugars a source of empty calories and a leading cause of obesity, they may also put you at risk for heart disease. Emerging research indicates that an increased intake of added sugar could raise blood pressure and might be associated with inflammation . A recent study published in Circulation found that teenagers who consumed excessive sugar in soft drinks had lower levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol and higher levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, putting them at risk for heart disease in adulthood. The AHA recommends limiting sugar consumption to 5 teaspoons a day for the average woman or 9 teaspoons a day for men. For reference, a can of cola contains about 8 teaspoons of added sugar—so think twice before sipping the sweet stuff!
4 Ways to Cut Down on Sugar Without Noticing It
Rely on your peepers to eat better! Research published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs found that label-readers who did not exercise were more likely to lose weight than exercisers who did not read food labels. Plus, by opening your eyes to what’s in your food, you’ll get better at avoiding common heart-harmers. Steer clear of foods high in fat, saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium. The AHA recommends keeping your total fat consumption between 56 and 78 g a day, with less than 2 g of trans fat and less than 16 g of saturated fat. Limit sodium to 300 mg to 1,500 mg per day. Also look for foods that are high in dietary fiber and vitamins. A general rule of thumb is that foods with a 20% or higher daily value of a vitamin or mineral are a good source of that nutrient.
8 Surprising Foods for Heart Health
It’s no secret that exercise is the key to shedding pounds, but did you know it can also help you live longer? A review published in Circulation reported that people who participated in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week had a 14% lower risk of coronary heart disease compared with people who did no physical activity. So protect your heart and exercise consistently, suggests the AHA. Here’s how to get your weekly exercise routine started.
Sorry to be a buzz kill. But curbing your cocktail consumption is a quick way to cut calories and boost your heart health. In addition to adding more than 100 calories to your diet with each drink, guzzling alcohol could increase your risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and other diseases. The AHA recommends limiting yourself to one to two drinks per day if you’re a man, or one drink per day if you’re a woman.
Get your heart pumping with these upbeat workout tunes!
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