4 Simple Steps to a Healthier Heart and Brain, Part 2

imprtance of diet and exercise, best practices to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and lose weight, pounds shed

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

October 13, 2017

  • 2 healthy habits that melt pounds and lower blood sugar
  • What does “eat a health diet” really mean?
  • Best exercise for your heart, brain and body

In Wednesday’s issue of Advanced Natural Wellness, we talked about ways to accomplish the first two steps included in the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple 7”.

These are the seven steps the AHA has identified as being vital to preventing heart attack, stroke and cognitive decline. As a quick refresher, they include…

  • Managing blood pressure
  • Controlling cholesterol
  • Keeping blood sugar normal
  • Getting regular physical activity
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Losing extra weight
  • Not smoking

Today, I want to jump right to the third and fourth items on the list, because these two steps are the keystone to all of the other recommendations.

You see, when you eat properly and get the right type of physical activity, everything else can fall into place – without prescription drugs.

Your blood pressure will drop. Cholesterol and blood sugar will cease to be an issue. Weight loss will automatically follow. (The only thing these healthy habits won’t do is keep you from smoking. However once you start feeling healthier, you might find it easier to quit on your own.)

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But if you take today’s standard advice to eat low- and no-fat foods and casually jog on a treadmill for your regular exercise, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.

What Does “Eat a Healthy Diet” Really Mean?

One of the worst pieces of advice that every came from the government is that fats are bad for us. This is why so many foods in the grocery store have labels that scream “low-fat,” “reduced-fat,” and “no fat.” And everyone’s buying them up like there’s no tomorrow.

Well, I’ll tell you this. These foods taste horrible without the addition of salt, sugar, flavorings, preservatives and other additives. All of these unhealthy ingredients contribute to inflammation. They increase your chances of insulin resistance. And they promote circulatory issues that put you at risk of a heart attack, stroke and mental decline.

On top of that is the fact that your body needs fats to thrive. So does your brain. And if you eat the right kinds of fat it can literally change the way your genes are expressed and protect you from today’s most common age-related diseases.

What should you eat?

About 85% of your daily diet should consist of a wide variety of organic, antioxidant-rich plant foods. This includes plenty of healthy fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, olive oil and seeds every day.

These fresh organic foods activate genes that protect against heart disease and diabetes. They can also turn on genes that stop inflammation and keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay.

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And do not omit plant-based foods that are considered “fatty”, like extra virgin olive oil, avocadoes and tree nuts. Your brain and body needs these healthy fats for all sorts of biological processes.

That being said, the other 15% of your daily food intake should consist of clean-sourced fish and pastured organic meat. (Whenever possible, choose omega-3 rich wild-caught fish over meat.)

Best Exercise for Your Heart, Brain and Body

In general, any physical activity you get is good for you… whether it is walking, swimming, jogging or taking part in a structure yoga or tai chi program.

But for top physical health, it’s a good idea to include some routines that get your heart and lungs pumping so that you can get more oxygen-rich blood to your brain and other organs.

My top tip is to invest about 15 minutes three or four times a week in high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

This type of workout involves performing an activity as hard as you can for a brief period… say 30 seconds to two minutes depending on your fitness. Then, rest for two or three minutes before repeating the exercise three or four more times.

The high intensity of this type of exercise produces something called “the afterburn effect” which keeps your metabolism raised for several hours after the workout. And it is much more effective than moderate exercise when it comes to having a positive effect on cardio-respiratory fitness, cardiovascular risk factors, insulin sensitivity and inflammation.

When you make these two healthy choices a habit, maintaining healthy blood sugar and weight loss will follow. At the same time, you’ll also boost circulation to every organ in your body… helping to ward off high blood pressure, plaque build up, heart attack, stroke and mental decline. You’ll even feel less stressed and sleep better.

SOURCES:

Gorelick PB, et al. Defining Optimal Brain Health in Adults: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke, 2017; STR.0000000000000148.

Micha R, et al. Association Between Dietary Factors and Mortality From Heart Disease, Stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes in the United States. JAMA. 2017 Mar 7;317(9):912-924.

Neeha VS, et al. Nutrigenomics research: a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2013 Jun; 50(3): 415–428.

Antonio Camargo, et al. “Gene expression changes in mononuclear cells from patients with metabolic syndrome after acute intake of phenol-rich virgin olive oil.” BMC Genomics, 2010.

Wien M, et al. A randomized 3×3 crossover study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin levels, and subsequent energy intake in overweight adults. Nutr J. 2013 Nov 27;12:155.

Ramos JS, et al. The impact of high-intensity interval training versus moderate-intensity continuous training on vascular function: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med. 2015 May;45(5):679-92.

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