(This story is written in partnership with iMD Health.)
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for reasons beyond fitting into your favourite plaid pants. By making sure that the number on the scale stays within the suggested range for your age and gender, you’re keeping your heart in good shape. This will reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and other conditions concerning blood circulation. iMD Health understands the significance of maintaining a heart healthy weight, which can be achieved by making these small lifestyle changes.
Create new eating habits
Sadly, visiting the McDonald’s drive-through multiple times a week has to stop as the frequent consumption of processed foods will wreak havoc on your health. Instead, try to create healthier alternatives of your favourite fast-food meals at home. Swapping sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages for low-calorie alternatives like flavoured water will also benefit your heart and waistline. Next time you go out to a restaurant or visit the grocery store, try to choose foods that will provide your body with nourishment instead of unhealthy fats.
Increase your intake of whole grains
According to iMD Health, whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, bulgur, and whole wheat are strongly linked to heart disease prevention. Whole grains contain plenty of fibre—this nutrient is best known for keeping your bowel movements regular but it’s responsible for much more. Fibre can also lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and keep you feeling fuller for longer after a meal. As mentioned on iMD Health, fibre contained in whole grains is strongly associated with a reduced risk of stroke, heart attack, and fatal heart disease.
Add nuts to your diet
Nuts are misunderstood by many—they’re high in calories but contain nutrients that are vital for your health like protein, fatty acids, and dietary fibre. Research on iMD Health states that the consumption of nuts can lower inflammation, improve the health of your arteries, and reduce your risk of developing blood clots. Swap unhealthy snack foods like chips and beef jerky for a handful of almonds or pistachios.
Eat more plant-based food
With all of the delicious meat alternatives available these days, we no longer have to rely on animal products for protein. According to iMD Health, eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help prevent a multitude of unpleasant ailments. When shopping for groceries, spend more time in the produce department and less time strolling through the middle aisles that are stocked with processed foods. The easiest way to consume more vegetables is to sneak a little extra into your usual dishes. Add a handful of spinach to smoothies, chop veggies into pasta sauces, and throw broccoli and cauliflower into casseroles.
Warm summer weather is right around the corner so this shouldn’t be too hard to implement. By exercising, you’ll burn calories, regulate your blood sugar, lower your cholesterol, and decrease your blood pressure. Walking, jogging, swimming, and attending aerobics classes will boost your heart health. For those who have difficulty finding the time to exercise, take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a walk on your lunch break, or get off the bus a few stops too early on your daily commute.
For more information, visit iMD Health’s Heart Healthy Weight page.More