Friday, October 29, 2010

10 Rules for Achieving Heart-Healthy Weight Loss

Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are the keys to heart-healthy weight loss. But making the right choices is not always easy. That's where rules come in. By following a few basic rules, you can lose the weight and improve your cardiovascular health.

10 Simple Rules for Heart-Healthy Weight Loss
Rule 1. Make the commitment. There comes a moment when you have to decide if you really want to lose the weight or if you are content to remain at the weight you're at. If you're dissatisfied and want change, you have to make the commitment.

Rule 2. Choose foods that are high in dietary fiber. Fortunately for you, the foods that are naturally high in fiber are, for the most part, low in calories. That means you can enjoy the heart-healthy benefits of the fiber and lose weight without going hungry. To comply with this rule, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with other foods that are naturally high in fiber.

Rule 3. Have some fish. Fish ranks high on the list of antioxidant-rich foods that help to keep your blood vessels flexible and prevent the buildup of plaque. Fish and other seafood are also great for losing weight because they provide ample protein without excessive amounts calories from fat. Even fatty/oily fish is good for you because the fish oil is rich in omega-3 fats – just what the doctor ordered for your heart health.

Rule 4. Drink plenty of water. It is important to stay properly hydrated when you are on a diet to lose weight. Water helps to keep you from feeling hungry, which can prevent you from overeating. Proper hydration is also important for the health of your heart and blood vessels. It keeps the nutrients in solution, helps to maintain the right amount of alkalinity in your blood, and can protect you from collapsing during exercise.

Rule 5. Consider having a glass of wine with dinner. A number of studies show that polyphenols in red wine may help to control cholesterol levels, prevent hardening of the arteries and promote healthy blood flow to the heart. But on't go overboard with these drinks. A good rule of thumb is one for the women and two for the men.

Rule 6. Go nuts for nuts. Until recently, nuts were generally considered off limits for people trying to lose weight. However, studies show that there is no reason to avoid these delightful foods if you can fit them into your diet as part of a healthy heart plan. So, go ahead and enjoy the anti-oxidant benefits that nuts provide.

Rule 7. Have an avocado. The avocado is an interesting fruit. Unlike other fruits, the avocado is high in fat. But the good news is, the fat in avocado is monounsaturated fat (MUFA), which helps to regulate cholesterol levels and keep your heart and blood vessels in great shape.

Rule 8. Fill up on dried beans, peas and seeds. These foods are high in fiber as well as protein and other key nutrients. The fiber is key because it helps your body get rid of LDL or bad cholesterol; this in turn helps to prevent the buildup of cholesterol plaque in your arteries.

Rule 9. Choose Whole Grains. Whole grains are naturally high fiber, healthy fats and vitamin E, all of which play a vital role in protecting your heart and blood vessels. Choosing whole grains instead of foods made with refined white flower can work wonders in keeping your calories down for successful weight loss.

Rule 10. Be Smart About Calories. You will have to make a special effort to ensure that the number of calories you consume is less than the amount that you burn. This will create the calorie deficit that is necessary to lose weight. If you can eliminate the sweets and foods with added sweeteners, you should fare well. Pay attention to all the other rules that are designed to produce weight loss and promote a healthy heart and blood vessels.