Lifestyle(Archives)

Jan
24
2014
Volume
-

YOUR McMURRAY NUTRITION

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Loving Your Heart

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of love? Family? Pets? Valentine’s Day? Love may bring images of the people we love, the things we love, or it may be a vision of (over-priced) flowers, cards and boxes of chocolate. As a nutritionist, love to me means taking care of your own symbol of love…your heart. With a little commitment, you can fall in love with your heart all over again!

There are many risk factors for heart disease. Some of them, such as environmental pollutants and genetics, are beyond our immediate control. However, there are many other risk factors, from high blood pressure to diabetes and obesity that we can control by eating well, getting adequate sleep and exercising regularly.

To help reduce your risk factors, focus on high fibre foods such as beans, whole grain breads, oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa; resveratrol-containing red wine and dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70-85 per cent; a variety of fresh fruits and veggies with an emphasis on dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach and Swiss chard; and omega 3 rich foods such as salmon, nuts, seeds, olive oil and flax seeds.

Try limiting your coffee intake to one to two cups per day, or better yet, replace it with herbal teas and water. Staying well hydrated reduces your heart’s workload by helping it pump blood more easily.

Unfortunately increasing our intake of whole foods isn’t the only step on the path to a healthy heart. Many “junk” foods derail our good choices and put us at greater risk for developing heart disease. Such foods include refined carbohydrates (white sugar, white bread, white pasta…see the pattern?), trans fats and hydrogenated oils found in fried foods and margarine, and processed foods which generally contain all of the above ingredients. These foods should be limited to occasional use only.

Lifestyle choices are hard to make at first, but soon you will truly feel like a new and improved version of yourself. As Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.

I hope you now think of love a little differently. In fact, I hope your first image of love is a dark chocolate heart…and maybe a glass of red wine! Eating well and making good lifestyle choices will show the people you care about that you are willing to make an effort to be healthy so you can be around for them for a longer time. With any luck this will motivate them to join you…at the very least it should help you to love yourself a little more.

LINDSAY THOMAS

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