Weight loss is one of the key factors that helps keep your heart healthy, lowers your risks of heart disease and stroke and improves your quality of life. On the occasion of World Heart Day, pledge to adopt these five diet and exercise tips to protect both your health and your waistline.
- Opt for oats: The soluble fiber in oats helps lower total and LDL cholesterol. There are several ways to incorporate oats in your diet – it can make a tasty breakfast preparation or you could try this great oats chila recipe as a snack.
- Choose the right type and amount of oil: A person should consume, on an average, not more than 500 ml of oil per month. That would be about 2-3 teaspoons of total fat per day, including ghee and butter. Ideally, you should be using a mix of oils – mustard or olive oil and a choice of rice bran/canola/sunflower oil, etc. Either you cook dishes in different oils at every meal, or use one type of oil during the day and another at night. If that’s not feasible, change the type of oil you use every three months. Switching up oils is necessary because it gives the body all the essential fatty acids it needs.
- Eat walnuts, almonds and flax seeds: Foods rich in Omega 3, healthy form of fatty acids, are considered heart-healthy. Walnuts, almonds and flax seeds, for instance, can reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol. So be sure to incorporate these nuts and seeds in your daily diet. But remember, they should be taken in moderation – about 7-8 almonds and 2 walnuts per day should do the trick.
- Don’t be fooled by foods labelled ‘cholesterol free’: Several processed foods available in the market, including oils, butters and margarines, are tagged ‘cholesterol free’. While it’s true they do not contain any cholesterol (which is a type of trans fat) it would be incorrect to assume they won’t increase your cholesterol when consumed. So make sure you check the single serving saturated fat content on the label and consume any of these products in the recommended amount instead of falling for these gimmicks.
- Exercise: Pure cardio is essential for pumping the heart with oxygenated blood and as a bonus, helps you knock off those extra pounds. Make sure you get in 45-60 minutes of cardio daily in the form of a brisk walk, jogging or any other sports activity. Skipping is another great way to increase your heart rate.