We might want to consider a diet initially designed to lower blood pressure if we are looking to reduce the risk of a stroke or a heart attack. A huge study that involved 88,000 women for a period of 25 years found those who ate meals that included fruits, vegetables and whole grains had a 24 percent lower incidence of heart attacks and an 18 percent lower incidence of strokes. There's nothing wrong with including grass-fed cattle or free-range poultry and all the fish we want while selecting more plant-based proteins over meat.
I want to also alert you to a common problem I encounter when people start to eat healthy. Over and over again I see people working hard on cutting out the processed junk and getting enough fruits and vegetables. The problem they run into are cravings and this usually goes along with the belief that healthy eating should somehow be a deprivation diet. Nothing could be further from the truth, and any diet or food plan that causes hunger and cravings will ultimately fail.
Cravings usually result in bingeing on "low fat" processed carbs and we can avoid this harmful practice and satisfy our body's need by making sure we get enough healthy fat. Those cravings are a message to our brain from our body that it's not getting what it needs to run itself, and that usually means a lack of adequate healthy natural fat found in fish, nuts, nut butters and olive oil.
Moderate amounts of organic dairy in the form of yogurt, cheese and butter are also okay. When we get cravings on our "healthy" diet is when we should consider experimenting with a little more of these healthy fats. And stay away from hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fat found in margarines, packaged baked goods, and a wide variety of processed frozen-food products.
We can start eating better today even if we are not currently dealing with high blood pressure. It's also interesting to note that brisk walkers may outpace joggers in lowering triglycerides, a blood fat linked with increased heart disease risk. Adults in a Duke University study who walked for 50 minutes 4 times a week decreased triglyceride levels by 22 percent, nearly twice as much as those who ran for the same time. Lower intensity workouts may control triglycerides better because they use fats as their primary fuel, while high-intensity efforts draw on the quick energy of glucose.
Now on the other hand, if we have hit a plateau and we would like to start losing again without working out longer. Then we can get better results in the same amount of time simply by increasing our intensity. A plateau can mean our body is fighting to hang on to those last 10 or 15 pounds as a buffer against future starvation, especially if you're cut calories.
Vigorous workouts can signal our body to release those extra fat stores for energy. Try a 50-50 workout to rev up a healthy way. Do your usual activity, such as walking, but for only half the time, and then finish with a new activity like bicycling, jogging, or jumping rope. Try two cardio machines (maybe a treadmill and an elliptical) if you work out at a gym. By switching exercises mid workout is how you can stay fresh, challenge new muscles, and burn more calories because you can give 100 percent all over again.
It might be a good idea in addition to bumping up intensity to check your food intake because you may be on a diet that has more calories than you realize. Unconscious nibbling throughout the day or snacking just a little bit more can add up if you think it's justified because you did your workout so well that day.
Copyright 2008 - All Rights Reserved.