Natural Strategies for Improving Health

By Jackie Smith

magick-21603ySLf2lwraymQLast month I offered a check list to see how healthy your heart is. I promised to offer some strategies on how to improve in some of the areas you may have thought you were weak.

The first check was helping you decide where your healthy weight range should fall. If you were significantly above range, weight loss requires more calories burned than consumed. The best way to accomplish this is first choosing nutrient dense healthy foods that include plenty of plant based foods and little lean meats.

Your daily diet should be two thirds plant based (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds) and one third animal based (meats, dairy). When calorie counting, remember not all calories are the same. Calories from protein or fiber rich foods require more energy to break down AND keep you feeling fuller longer.

Different people require different calorie amounts. Think 10 calories per pound of body weight just to maintain your daily physiological requirements. Add a few more depending on your activity level.

Easiest example: You’re 150 pounds and are well outside your healthy range and you want to be 130 pounds. You consume 1500 calories a day and do absolutely nothing physically. You will maintain 150 pounds. To lose, you can do several different things. You can continue eating 1500 calories, but get up and get more active. You can cut your calories to 1300 and enjoy moderate activity and probably see a faster result. Either way, gradual and careful is best. No fad/extreme diets, no crazy supplements.

Second check, if your blood pressure is climbing. Losing weight often results in decreased blood pressure. Better yet, getting regular cardio/aerobic exercise and eating ‘vascularly’ friendly foods like good fats found in fish, olive and canola oil, and walnuts can be helpful. And cut the SUGAR. Watch the alcohol too.

Regular cardio/aerobic exercise will also assist you if your resting heart rate (RHR) is on the high side. The healthier conditioned and stronger heart beats more efficiently which equates to less beats per minute….that was check three or four or hey, news flash…have you noticed yet, that to accomplish a lot of these things basically requires the same thing. **Always consult a doctor if pressure is high.**

That leads me to cholesterol. If your numbers were high here, some good ways to lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) is less to no consumption of bad fats like saturated and especially, trans. To raise good cholesterol (HDL), exercise and consuming good fats like poly, mono and the beautiful omega-3. Good food choices for this are nuts, seeds, olive and canola oils, and fish.

Another check, blood sugar levels. If yours is on the higher end and/or you are a candidate for developing type-2 diabetes, following all of the above will be of great help. Sugar is a sneaky culprit and is in a lot of foods you wouldn’t think of.

Ask any diabetic friend why their nutritionist/doctor has told them to avoid pretzels, or cooked carrots. That’s because these seemingly healthy or innocent foods are actually high on the glycemic index and are no-no’s.

It’s not just the obvious processed cookies, cakes, etc. Foods like pasta, white rice, many cereals, and white potatoes are also high and are often the sneaky ones adding unnecessary sugars to our diets that lead to weight gain, inflammation, and high blood pressure. Higher levels of inflammation are also related to higher risk of cardio vascular disease.

Final check…I said STOP SMOKING!! Very high cholesterol, BP, sugar, RHR, see your doctor.

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Swedesboro NJ
August 15, 2022, 11:59 am
real feel: 71°F