18 Feb 2019

Top tips for a healthy heart

We asked three of The Latte Lounge contributors to give us their top tips for a healthy heart during midlife and beyond.

Tips from our resident nutritionist, Marcelle Rose

Eat the right kind and the right balance of fats to keep your heart healthy...

The message from governments and the media was – and largely still is – that when we eat fat it puts us at a greater risk of heart disease. But rather than demonising fat itself, we need to focus on eating the right kind of healthy fat and in the right balance.

Saturated fats have the worst reputation, and they’re found in animal fats and coconut oil. Here’s the controversial bit –it goes entirely against what we have been told for decades … these dietary saturated fats that you eat – don’t raise cholesterol.

The fats that are ‘bad’ are the trans fats, which cause cell membranes to become stiff and hard and no longer function correctly. Trans fats are particularly found in processed foods, i.e. hydrogenated oils, some margarines, shop-bought cakes and biscuits etc.

Monounsaturated fats are the kinds of fats associated with the Mediterranean diet – particularly olive oil -, and populations that eat a lot of these fats have some of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world. Many cardiologists advocate the Mediterranean diet, as higher intakes of this kind of fat are linked to a better ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol.

Polyunsaturated fats, which include omega-3 and omega-6 – the essential fatty acids, fulfil many roles in the body. As a rule, omega-6 fats are not as beneficial, especially when the balance between the two gets disturbed. Historically, humans ate a good ratio of omega-6 to 3 – ranging between 1:1 and 4:1. The modern Western diet has changed things for the worse, and the ratio is frequently 20:1 thanks to processed foods, vegetable oils, and conventionally raised (rather than grass-fed) meat giving us a greater risk of heart disease and other conditions. By eating more oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel), nuts and seeds (flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts) regularly, you will boost your omega-3 intake.

Tips from our resident chef, Judianne Jayson

Trans Fatty Acids are (primarily) man made fats that significantly increase your risk of getting Coronary Heart Disease.

They are made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils, so you will see them on food labels as Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or hydrogenated vegetable oil.

They don’t go off, so they are added to foods to extend their shelf life but they are not good for your health and it is advisable to remove them from your diet completely.

They are found in margarine, fried foods, pastries, highly processed foods/snacks etc

Try to replace trans fatty acids with polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, both of which have been shown to lower your risk of getting Coronary Heart Disease.

You will find them in foods such as nuts, seeds, olives, flaxseeds, eggs, quinoa, fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, avocado, olive oil, sesame oil, etc.

So try adding seeds and nuts to your salads, eat more fish, add avocado to your egg on toast, add ground flaxseeds to your cakes (no one will notice) eat a handful of nuts as a snack instead of eating processed biscuits or cake.

Here are some quick healthy recipes that will boost your monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and help decrease your risk of coronary heart disease.

Healthy Waldorf Salad with Quinoa -

WALDORF SALAD WITH QUINOA... This no mayo version of a Waldorf salad is fresh and crunchy. Made with mixed leaves, celery, apple, pomegranate, toasted walnuts, quinoa, S&P, lemon and a drizzle of olive oil. I'm looking forward to lunch already!

Italian Olive and Herb Chicken -

This was SO easy and the flavour was AMAZING. It was really intense and sharp. Delicious 😋 https://youtu.be/fTC7NBFTzU0 Italian Olive & Herb Chicken Recipe Card If you enjoy this as much as we do, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment below. Thanks, Judianne x

Snacks -

No Description

Banana and Blueberry Cake -

BANANA AND BLUEBERRY CAKE. This cake took me just 8 minutes to prep. It contains no refined sugar - it is sweetened with just 3 tbs agave syrup or honey and the blueberries. Not too sweet but was moist and tasty 😋 Only half the cake left by this morning.

Tips from our fitness blogger, Lauren

As you get older, you might notice that maintaining your usual weight becomes more difficult. In fact, many women gain weight around the menopause transition. Menopause weight gain can have serious implications for your heart health.

Love it or loathe it, exercise is the key to helping you shed excess pounds and maintain a healthy weight. I recommend increasing the amount of aerobic exercise you do. For most healthy adults, experts recommend moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, for at least 150 minutes a week or vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging, for at least 75 minutes a week. In addition, strength training exercises are recommended at least twice a week.

Strength training counts, too. As you gain muscle, your body burns calories more efficiently — which makes it easier to control your weight.

If you can't get all of your exercise completed in one session, try breaking up your physical activity into several 10-minute sessions during the day. You'll still get the same heart-health benefits.

Interval training — in which you alternate short bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity — is another exercise alternative you might try. For example, you could incorporate short bursts of jogging or fast walking into your regular walks. Interval training may help you burn more calories than continuous exercise, and it can help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your heart healthy.

There are other ways in which you can increase the level of physical activity throughout the day. Try taking the stairs instead of the lift or walking instead of taking the bus.

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