In a world full of uncertainty, a healthy diet and lifestyle are excellent challenges that each of us can make to impact our life. A healthy diet and lifestyle not only help us combat cardiovascular disease, but they also improve our physical and mental wellbeing.
It may seem like a daunting task to begin a journey towards a healthier you, but following a healthy diet is much easier than it sounds. Begin with making minor changes in your diet and soon they will become lifelong habits. The correct number of calories you need is based on your age, how physically active you are, and your weight goals. It is easy to exceed your daily caloric needs with high calorie foods and beverages that do not provide the necessary nutrients.
Your provider can help you determine how many calories you need, but the following are things you can do to start a healthier new you:
- Replace your high calorie foods with a variety of fruits and vegetables without added sugar and salt.
- Use high fiber whole grains.
- Choose skinless poultry prepared in non-tropical vegetable oils such as safflower or canola. If you want to eat meat, look for the leanest cuts and prepare them in healthier ways.
- Eat fish such as trout or salmon twice a week.
- Eat nuts and legumes (peas/beans).
- Choose fat free or low-fat dairy products.
- Try to choose foods that have lower sodium and do not add extra salt to your foods. This can help reduce your blood pressure.
- Avoid alcohol or drink in moderation. For women that is one drink per day and two drinks per day for men.
Physical activity is also key to assist with weight loss and maintaining physical fitness. Some things you can do to start is parking further away from the door, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking around the office for 10 minutes during your lunch break. Aim for 150 minutes (about two or 2 ½ hours) of moderate physical activity each week.
The most important thing to remember is that this is a lifestyle change and it takes time. Find a good support system and ask them to help hold you accountable. Do not be discouraged as all change takes time.
Mercy Clinic Cardiology
100 Mercy Way Suite 320-330 | Joplin, MO 64804