To stay slim and healthy eat sensibly and kick those heels!

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The barrage of advice and recommendations being issued on an almost daily basis about how to remain fit and healthy is at times hard to make sense of and more often than not the average consumer is left confused and perplexed.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has now released new heart-healthy lifestyle recommendations that should make that task somewhat easier to figure out.

The AHA says in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle a low-fat eating plan that includes food such low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables and whole grains is the way to go.

Of course none of this advice is new but experts are convinced a sensible eating plan which meets nutritional needs could help prevent chronic disease and reduce high blood pressure as effectively as some medications.

All agree that a healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons in fighting cardiovascular disease and bring long-term benefits to a person's overall health.

To clarify the AHA says:

  • Know how many calories you should be eating and drinking to maintain your weight and don’t eat more calories than you know you can burn up every day;
  • Increase the amount and intensity of your physical activity to match the number of calories you take in and aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day even if that equates to 10-minute sessions throughout the day.
  • Regular physical activity will help maintain your weight, keep off weight that you lose and help you reach physical and cardiovascular fitness.
  • Eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups which have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but are lower in calories, such as vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.

Research shows that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and your blood pressure and unrefined whole-grain foods contain fiber that can help lower your blood cholesterol and help you feel full.

  • Eat fish at least twice a week, preferably oily fish which contains omega-3 fatty acids,(salmon, trout, and herring) which may help lower your risk of death from coronary artery disease.
  • Limit foods and beverages that are high in calories but low in nutrients, and watch how much saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium you eat.
  • READ LABELS - so you know how much fat, sugar, salt and nutrients each food or beverage contains.

In a nutshell:-

  • Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
  • Limit foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
  • Limit foods high in dietary cholesterol and aim to eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day.
  • Beverages and foods with added sugars.
  • Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
  • Watch your portion sizes always
  • Don’t smoke tobacco and stay away from tobacco smoke.

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