Keep Your Health in Focus

Tips from Cardiologist Jonathan S. Katz, MD, FACC on Healthy Living

Did you know participating in physical activity can lower your short-term risk of developing cardiovascular disease? In fact, implementing and following an exercise regimen can be just as important as taking medication for high blood pressure. Don’t regularly exercise? Not a problem, follow the steps below to get started! There’s no better time than the present to get moving, the health of your heart depends on it!

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR STAYING ACTIVE:

Simple things, such as getting up every 30 minutes and walking for 2 minutes, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and parking further from your destination can help you stay active! If you don’t exercise, start with one day a week. If you exercise 3 days a week, try 4. Start small and as you go, increase your level of activity.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WEEKLY EXERCISE:

Ideally, one should complete 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week (e.g. 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week) or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. Doing so can lower the risk of premature death by 20%!

 

Moderate activities include:

  • brisk walking
  • bicycling slower than 10 MPH
  • gardening

 

Vigorous intensity activities include:

  • Race walking
  • hiking uphill
  • swimming laps

STAYING AWAY FROM ADDED SUGAR, BAD FATS AND BAD PROTEIN:

It’s important to eat low fat or healthier fats, good carbohydrates in place of bad carbohydrates, and good protein in place of bad protein. Count your calories: how many calories are you consuming per day? A recent study in the British Medical Journal reaffirmed that added sugars drive Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) via insulin resistance and elevated insulin, a hormone in the body that processes sugar.

 

Bad Carbohydrates include:

  • refined products
  • Sugar
  • concentrated sweeteners
  • white flour
  • white rice

 

Good fats, no more than 10% of daily calorie intake, include:

  • Fish Oil
  • Flax Seed oil
  • Plankton based omega 3 fatty acids
  • nuts
  • seeds

 

Healthy protein includes:

  • egg whites
  • Tofu
  • beans
  • legumes
  • non-fat yogurt
  • non-fat cheese

Of course, more than occasional red meat consumption is discouraged.

EAT BREAKFAST

Ah, the healthiest meal of the day! Many think that foregoing a meal is great because it means eating less calories and eating for less hours throughout the day. However, it was shown in a study in the Journal of Physiology that routinely eating breakfast could benefit the body by increasing the amount of sugar taken up by fat cells in response to Insulin (i.e. improve sensitivity to Insulin). So, make sure to eat breakfast each morning!

WHAT DIET IS BEST?

After a recent study of a “healthy American diet” vs. the Mediterranean diet, the Mediterranean diet takes the cake!

The Mediterranean diet:

  • high intake of fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • low fat (avoid saturated fat)
  • olive oil over tropical oil
  • daily legumes (e.g. chickpeas, peas, lentils and kidney beans)
  • weekly nuts and eggs
  • lean chicken
  • oily fish
  • less red meat

A recent study published in the Lancet found that a weight management program for adults with Type 2 Diabetes who are not taking Insulin could achieve a 50% remission rate over a 12-month period by losing 10-15kg.

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR DIET:

Do:

 Consume a fruit or vegetable with every meal.

Replace salt with herbs.

Increase consumption of water or seltzer.

Keep track of how many calories you consume per day.

Stay away from soda and high calorie beverages.

Stay away from processed food and artificial substances.

Don’t:

 Eat for more than 12 hours of the day.

Forget to read food labels, they may be misleading!

 

Making simple changes each day will help keep your health in focus!

Jonathan S. Katz, MD, FACC, is a Cardiologist at Crystal Run Healthcare and is seeing patients in the practice’s West Nyack facility.