Nearly seven years ago I tragically lost my brother at the age of 31 to a condition called Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy. This was not due to an unhealthy lifestyle. My brother had played rugby and was training for a marathon, he was fit and strong. Unfortunately, it was simply a genetic defect.
His recent birthday got me thinking about heart disease and how we can help to keep our hearts healthy by eating certain types of foods.
Of course, regular exercise consisting of resistance training, cardiovascular training and flexibility is important. But have you ever wondered what foods you could eat to improve your heart?
Yes, I said it! Chocolate can be good for your heart! Studies have shown that those who eat 2 squares of DARK chocolate a day (approximately 20g) can decrease blood pressure. This is because the flavanols in cocoa can improve the elasticity in blood vessels. But only go for the highest in quality dark chocolate.
Green tea has been proven to widen arteries, which in turn increases blood flow. It also improves the function of the endothelia cells (the cells which line the arteries) thus reducing the risk of heart disease and thickening of the artery wall.
Eating fish rich in omega-3 such as salmon or mackerel is not only good for weight loss, but also for your reducing the risk of heart disease. By reducing the risk of blood clotting and lowering blood pressure omega-3’s can decrease the chances of getting strokes and heart problems.
According to medical experts a diet rich in wholegrains can reduce the risk of coronary disease and increase heart health. Replacing refined grains for whole grains will not only improve your overall health and reduce your weight, but can also lead to a lower risk of heart disease.
There you have four foods to help improve dilation of the arteries and/or decrease blood pressure which lead to a healthier heart.
This is only a small factor in the greater picture. Ultimately one needs to be incorporating regular exercise (of all varieties) into their day and focus on a lifestyle that isn’t sedentary. Reducing the consumption of foods which are high in saturated fats (animal fats, fried food, biscuits) is paramount. Try not to use butter or margarine, instead spread a little nut butter on your toast. Why not use one full egg and two egg whites in your omelette rather than using two or 3 three whole eggs as this is where the calories and cholesterol are. Grill or bake foods rather than frying them in oil and opt for high protein foods as snacks rather than cakes or biscuits.
Start to make these above steps and with time not only will energy increase but I’m sure you will look and feel much better too.
Whether you’re looking to stay active and strong during pregnancy, tone up, or lose weight, Nikki has the tools and dedication you need to achieve your goals.