Sarah Elijah Scherer, Shaklee Pure Performance Team Dietitian/Nutritionist
As a two-time Team USA Olympian and Olympic finalist, Sarah has a passion for motivating and inspiring people to become the best version of themselves. In addition to her athletic career, her credentials as a Registered Dietitian, Licensed Nutritionist, and an MBA specializing in Healthcare Management enable her to help others achieve their goals. She has coached over one thousand individuals, focusing on weight loss, improved sports performance, diabetes prevention, heart health, healthy aging, smoking cessation, and additional healthy lifestyle and performance goals.
This month we hear from her on heart healthy lifestyle tips. There are daily choices we can make to live a heart-healthy lifestyle:
Choose plant foods over animal foods: Animal-based foods contain saturated fats, which have a negative impact on your cholesterol levels. Examples of these foods are meats, cheese, and other dairy products, and processed meats and other foods. In contrast, plant-based foods contain healthy fats, mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Examples of these foods are certain nuts, seeds,and vegetable oils and fruits like avocados. The exception to this rule is that coconut and palm oils contain saturated fat, and so should be used less often.
Choose lean proteins: Choose a lean cut of meat, vegetable source of protein, or small, cold-water marine fish as your protein. Simply choosing lean ground turkey over ground hamburger beef will save you 200 calories and 6 grams of saturated fat in one portion.
Increase your fiber: Increasing your fiber intake may be beneficial to your digestive health, help you feel more satisfied with smaller portions, and help lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. To increase the amount of fiber in your diet, choose more vegetables, fruits, legumes, and beans. And, make at least 50% of the grains you eat whole grains.
Increase your fish oils: When adding fish to your diet, choose small, cold-water marine fish to boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Along with eating more fish, taking a fish oil supplement like Shaklee OmegaGuard® provides an additional 1,200 mg of heart-healthy fish oils per serving.
Your heart is a muscle and needs exercise to get stronger. Exercise also directly benefits your HDL (“good”) cholesterol, improves blood sugar balance, lowers stress, and improves sleep! (We will talk more about stress and sleep below.) To improve your heart’s fitness, plan 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of intense physical activity into each week. Learn more about ways to get active by using the exercise programs available at Shaklee 180 or those at Health.gov/moveyourway.
We all know too much stress can impact your health. It can increase your resting pulse and blood pressure, affect sleep, and inhibit a healthy blood sugar balance. But how much is too much stress? Signs of too much stress may include anxiety, energy swings, food cravings, poor sleep, and many more. If you think you have too much stress, you probably do. Take a minute right now to practice a deep breathing technique: Breathe in for 3 seconds and out for 5 seconds. Repeat this cycle several times. This is a practical stress-relieving technique you can use every day.
Last but not least, sufficient sleep is key for a healthy heart. Health problems that can be linked to a lack of sleep include high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Some ways to improve your sleep quality are:
Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Set a timer 1 hour before you need to go to bed. The timer is your cue to wind down and finish your last task or two before turning in. Try Dream Serene for calm, restful sleep. Practice meditation or deep breathing before bed.
If you begin to practice even one of these habits, you are on your way to a healthier heart!