It is so easy to take the road less traveled by copying bad habits that can pose potential problems down the road. Instead of taking the time to create healthy alternatives to the fast food and processed food regimen, many of us have decided to stick to the norm. These foods contain outrageous amounts of fat, sodium and cholesterol and preservatives and that is just skimming the surface. In today’s age of increased risks for various conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, heart attack, stroke and cancer, finding healthier food alternatives are crucial.
Of course, proper eating habits need to combined with other key ingredients in efforts of creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Just as you couldn’t bake a cake with one ingredient, the same holds true your health! It takes dedication and will power, moreover, it takes getting eight hours of sleep and REM sleep on top of that. Exercise… and walking or running to the refrigerator, or bathroom during commercial breaks doesn’t cut it as a viable form of exercise, though many couch potatoes may categorize this as such. Elevating your heart rate for a period of time, preferably atleast twenty minutes or more and incorporating some sort of weight training as well is ideal.
This article is about foods, however, so my focus will be on the food element and reducing the chances of a heart attack with the implementation of these foods.
First up is, lean meat such as turkey and chicken, but I am going to change this to incorporate bison, ostrich and other meats, that are actually, more beneficial for you as well as lower in calories, fat and cholesterol. Bison and ostrich are an excellent source of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein which your muscles need, especially as your body grows. Since your heart is the largest muscle in your body, by adding a sufficient amount of protein to your diet, you will help to replenish that lost through diet and exercise, especially. Turkey contains an important amino acid called L-Tryptophan, which helps to relax the body, possibly reducing stress as well, which will have a strong impact on the work your heart is having to do. Bison is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acid, which has been observed in numerous studies to benefit the heart. This fatty acid , which is not able to be produced in the body, is an essential fatty acid(EFA) that helps to maintain body metabolism.
The second is another ideal protein source by way of the lakes, rivers, streams, ponds and oceans. FISH…most notably cold water species such as Cod, Lake trout and Salmon, but Albacore Tuna, Haddock, shellfish and other species of fish are also great. Now, not to go to far on a tangent, but their are certain fish that provide not only an ideal source of efficient protein but also provide the three omega fatty acids(EFA)(EPA)(ALA). These are called Omega 3,6,and 9 fatty acids and represent UNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS. Their are other sources of these fatty acids, which is great, especially for those that are vegetarians, and since these fatty acids cannot, again, be manufactured by the body, are very critical to heart function and health, need to be represented in the body. Flax, pumpkin, safflower, sunflower, rapeseed(canola) and hemp oils, walnuts, Tofu and green leafy vegetables. Omega 3 EFA is so vital and can play a leading role in aiding in the prevention of osteoporosis, heart arrhythmia, lowering blood pressure, reducing the plaque that is involved with hardening and thickening of arterial walls and triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood. Omega 6 is essential for healthy skin, nails, hair and hormonal balance. Omega 9 is also a key part in preventing cardiovascular disease, stroke, and arteriosclerosis.
As a side note, Tuna has received alot of rap regarding its being dolphin friendly, and tuna caught on a line is a safer bet in attempts to save our dolphin friends. Tuna has over the years also been found to contain high levels of mercury and while consuming tuna in smaller quantities is not going to hurt, a better alternative would be to try mackerel, herring and sardines. These do not contain the high levels of mercury, are dolphin safe and contain the omega 3 fatty acid as well. Wild caught species of fish are better tasting and tend to offer more of the EFA’s that farm raised.
The third food is actually a beverage…orange juice. A couple serving a day of this potent beverage will ensure that your body has received the daily percentage of vitamin C, minerals, other vitamins, many of which are labeled as antioxidants to help prevent cellular damage, as well as keep the heart healthy and fit. A keen invention was the introduction of various nutrients into orange juice. Fish oil(Omega 3), calcium and vitamin D are a small representation of these nutrients added to standard OJ.
I know I will have many of you out there cheering for this one being on the list. As the French, Italian and Greek cultures, can attest to and have been doing for centuries now, are living healthier and longer lives and part of this has been attributed to red wine. Red wine provides, not only, antioxidants but a stronger antioxidant known as resveratrol. Resveratrol is an antioxidant that is highly concentrated in red wine. It can be found in the skin of red grapes, as well as certain plants after they have been attacked by fungi or bacteria, or produced in a laboratory through chemical synthesis and derived by the Japanese Knotwood. Resveratrol is also in peanuts and blueberries to some extent. These antioxidants provide more effective heart function, reduce cellular damage as well as aid in protecting your heart as well.
Fresh vegetables, not in cans or cooked so that it looks like wet toilet paper either. Over cooking vegetables will not only reduce the nutrients by breaking them down through the heating process, but degrades the taste of the nutrient rich vegetables. Incorporating a variety of vegetables form around the world in various colors and forms will offer the best success in ensuring your heart and body are healthy by offering heart healthy compounds. Some vegetables are better than others as for their nutrient power, for example, romaine lettuce or spinach is a much more suitable choice to standard Iceberg lettuce, which is mainly water. Steam or eat your vegetables raw is the best way of incorporating veggies into your diet.
Spring water is the top five on my list. Water is the most abundant compound in the body. Cell function as a result of hydration, can effect the way your heart beats and functions. Correct fluid balance in the cells and body is critical and essential and reduce dehydration. Drinking a gallon of water or so a day will help to aid in the minimization of dehydration. Many times you will not even realize that you are dehydrated, such as in the colder months or during times that you are not exerting energy, sweating or have any sensation of being thirsty.
Obviously these are not guaranteed preventatives, as their are many other factors that can present themselves such as genetics and ethnic background. Numerous medicines are out there that can aid in proper health of your heart, and can be as simple as taking a children’s aspirin(81 MG>). Speaking with your health care provider can make sure you doing things right, offer suggestions, alternatives and ensure that medicines you are taking do not counter or have adverse effects.