5 Heart-Smart Ways to Lose Weight

February 9, 2018

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blog_hearthealthFebruary is all about the heart. Whether you’re feeling love from your significant other or celebrating American Heart Month, red is on your mind. The heart plays a role in weight loss too. Don’t forget to give yourself some love with these heart-smart ways to lose weight.

Exercise: The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week to prevent weight gain. If you want you lose weight, you should aim for 150 to 250 minutes of cardiovascular activity weekly. Your heart is a muscle, and aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming raise your heart rate, which strengthens your heart and burns fat and calories.

Include healthy fats in your diet. Monounsaturated fatty acids, better known as MUFAs, help lower bad, LDL cholesterol and promote a healthy heart. Too much bad, LDL cholesterol in your blood can cause heart disease. Healthy fats remove the bad, LDL cholesterol and keep you blood circulating the way it should. Include at least one serving of nuts, salmon or olive oil in your diet daily to get your fill of these heart-healthy MUFAs.

Sleep. Skimping on sleep is an easy way to add inches to your waistline. Studies show those who don’t get an adequate amount of sleep are more likely to crave junk foods. But the health hazards of sleep deprivation don’t end there. Your heart is also at increased risk. Studies show people who sleep less than five hours per night are at an increased risk for developing or worsening high-blood pressure. Aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night to feel your best.

Limit red meat. Multiple studies link red meat to heart disease and stroke. Comparatively, those with a higher intake of poultry showed a reduced risk of stroke. But you don’t have to say so long to that steak for good. Limit it special occasions and choose leaner cuts to stay on weight loss track.

Indulge with dark chocolate. February wouldn’t be complete without a low-calorie dose of chocolate, and you can indulge without feeling guilty. Dark chocolate is high in anti-inflammatory flavonoids, meaning it has antioxidant properties that help protect your heart. Heart disease is thought to be caused in part by inflammatory response, and a healthy dose of anti-inflammatory dark chocolate can offset the effect.

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