Twenty Steps for a Healthier Heart

Dr. Brenda Gill
By Dr. Brenda Gill
February 1st, 2016

1.   Eat a balanced breakfast every day with equal amounts of protein and carbohydrates in the form of veggies or fruit. This creates slow releasing calories to minimize weight gain and maximize your blood sugar regulation, which reduces stress to the heart

2.   Eat 3 meals per day and eliminate snacks between meals. This will require the body to go looking for extra storage calories, so, helps to maintain the proper weight.

3.   Substitute empty, refined calories from the diet such as white flour, pasta, bread, crackers, buns, bagels, wraps with whole grain products. Anything white raises blood sugar and insulin release, which creates weight gain and increased cholesterol, which can deposit on your arteries and veins.   

4.   Replace saturated, hydrogenated fats such as Crisco, Mazola Oil, margarine, lard, artificial spreads, peanut butter and peanuts with coconut or olive oil and nuts or seeds. This maximizes the HDL’s in your blood and therefore prevents cardio-vascular disease, such as atherosclerosis or atheriosclerosis.     

5.   Replace white/brown sugar found in desserts, jams and jellies, sweetened cereals and other processed foods, or added sugar on dry cereal, in coffee, tea with honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, brown rice syrup or stevia.  This minimizes the conversion to fat in our bodies. 

6.    Use fruit juice with spritzers instead of Pop.  This helps to keep the chemicals and stimulants  that can damage the heart to a minimum.

7.   Use whole grains, like brown rice instead of white rice, whole grain bread instead of “enriched” white bread and cooked cereals for breakfast, such as slow steel cut oats, quinoa flakes or 8 grain cereal instead of dry cereals and whole grain pastas such as brown rice pasta.  They have more flavour and have many more minerals that benefit heart function.   

8.   Keep alcoholic beverages to 2-3/wk. This reduces the overall intake of “sugar” and minimizes the stress on the liver. When your liver is doing a good job of detoxifying, the cholesterol is efficiently broken down to HDL’s with a small amount of LDL’s and triglycerides. 

9.   Substitute pork and beef with lamb, buffalo or wild meat. This minimizes the saturated fats your body has a hard time breaking down that leads to high cholesterol and weight gain. 

10.        Increase meats that improve heart health such as fish. Wild salmon, halibut, herring, sardines and mackerel all have high DHA/EPA, so, these help to keep our veins and arteries working well and increased concentration, focus and memory!

11.        Use soy/rice/almond/coconut/hemp/cashew/oat or goat milk instead of cow’s milk. The oil in these can be more easily broken down and utilized. You can also use goat or organic yogurt instead of sour cream, coconut or cashew milk instead of cream and a chevre instead of cream cheese.    

12.        Try goat goudas, sheep manchego or pecarino (similar to Romano) or crotenese (like a sharp cheddar) instead of cow cheese.

13.        Replace butter with coconut oil or nut and seed butters for bread and use them sparingly:  mashed avocado, almond, cashew, hazelnut, sunflower, sesame, pumpkin or hemp butter.

14.        Make your own baked goods. Otherwise they are typically higher in sugar and saturated fats. Look at our web-site www.getbetterhealthonline for some yummy recipes. 

15.        Eggs are a good healthy protein and a nice alternative to meat. 6-8 per week will NOT elevate cholesterol. All those old studies that showed eggs raised cholesterol were eggs that were cooked in bacon fat or prepared incorrectly.  Have them poached, easy over or boiled to keep the yolk intact, or a lightly cooked omelette.  Overheated eggs will cause oxidation.   

16.        Fruit can be used for a dessert after supper if your body is used to something sweet to end the meal. Try sprinkling on cinnamon for a little more sweetness that in itself regulates blood sugar or baking them with some ground up almonds or sunflower seeds to satisfy that sweet tooth!

17.        Maintain regular, moderate exercise for 5 hrs per week, ideally outside in the fresh air & sunshine. This is what is required to maintain your weight where it is.  If you want to lose weight, you need to increase that to at least 1 hour per day to increase the metabolic burning of calories. At 1 hour, the body will maintain that burning for another 3 hours and utilize storage fat for calories. 

18.        Always strive for 8 hours of sleep per night and remember every hour before midnight is worth 2 hours after midnight for repair of your body. This keeps your cortisol levels stable, which keeps the adrenals handling stress effectively and allows for adequate rest from your busy day. 

19.        Drink filtered alkaline water.  This minimizes acidity, which allows your body to detoxify more effectively and helps flush out any metabolites or chemicals you’ve accumulated during the day, This keeps the load off the heart.  

20.        Whether it’s hiking to a mountain lake, skiing with friends on a bluebird day, walking in a serene and quiet forest, spending a day out in the sunshine or cycling in the beautiful countryside, find ways to manage your stress and feelings of irritability, anger or frustration. 

For those who would like an individual approach for specific heart issues, please contact  Dr. Brenda Gill at 250-362-5035  for an appointment

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