We all know what we need to do to improve our heart health. So why is it so hard to do it? One of the reasons could be that we often follow tips that just aren’t realistic and aren’t made with normal people in mind. Food Lover’s Market’s suggestion to you is to take it easy and try implementing these tips at your own pace. And you know what? Irrespective of how many guidelines you implement, well done to you!
- Portion Size Control
Do we really need seconds? Sometimes our meals are so good we need to go back for seconds. If you are this person, try dishing up a smaller portion initially. If you are determined to do this right, approach a nutritionist to find out the exact sizes you should be consuming.
- Eat less salt
Opt for low-salt items. Try herbs and spices instead of table salt. Condiments? Look for the reduced salt versions. Soy sauce is a great place to start. Instead of buying tinned foods, choose the fresh alternative. This is super easy – just visit any Food Lover’s Market.
- Eat less sugar
Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain. These extra kilos put a strain on our hearts. Plus too much sugar can lead to diabetes or heart disease. None of these options is very inviting. For many of us sugar is something we can’t live without, so try limiting your intake. Instead of eating a whole slab of choccy after supper, settle for a few blocks.
- Eat less fat
There are good fats and there are bad fats. Good fats include avos and extra virgin olive oil (insert 8 heart foods link?) and these are great to eat as they improve our heart health. An easy place to start is with meat choices, choose lean pieces over fatty pieces. Chat to a friendly butcher at Food Lover’s Market to help you make better meat choices.
- Up your fruit and veg Intake
Yes, fruits and veggies are good for us, but be careful. Canned fruit = sugar. Veggies with creamy sauces = fat. Canned veggies = salt. Choose fresh where possible. Fresh is best.
The heart is a muscle, like all muscles we need to exercise it to make it stronger so it can work longer. We are not saying go run a marathon after spending your leave on the couch. Set yourself a realistic movement schedule. If you are completely sedentary for example, consider walking for around 10 minutes a day at a brisk pace to start off. Baby steps.
- Plan Ahead
Planning your meals ahead will not only save you money (as you won’t resort to ordering takeaways), but it will also improve your heart health as you will be more aware of your consumption in terms of quantity and nutrients you are taking in. Take the hard work out of planning and scroll through Food Lover’s Market’s fantastic online recipe book.
- Bad habits
If you can stop smoking or drinking altogether that is incredible. If you don’t want to, that’s fine too, but just cut down a bit. Healthy consumption is about 2 to 3 units a day for women and 3 to 4 units a day for men. Unsure of what that is in drink terms, Aware.org can help you there.
When we are stressed, we smoke, drink, and eat more sugar, carbs etc. We also tend to exercise less, and our quality of sleep reduces. All these activities are linked to heart problems. Stress is part of our day-to-day lives, so we need to look for ways to manage our stress in a way that suits us. A 5-minute coffee break at work, meditating, journaling, yoga, or reading the latest Food Lover’s Market’s blog posts are just some ideas.
- Treat yourself
We are human and we deserve a treat. We shouldn’t deprive ourselves; this can lead to binges. This means all our hard work on our heart health is down the drain. So, treat yourself once in a while. You deserve it.