Author: Lynn Sheffield

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3 Ways to Improve Heart Health

1) Out with the Bad, In with the good!

Like I’ve said in previous blogs, we live in the land of plenty and it can be hard to resist all the processed, sugar-overloaded food. Making smarter choices like fruits, vegetables and whole grains can do wonders for our hearts–and overall health.

2) Take a Walk

Even if you have just a few minutes to squeeze it in, taking a stroll can help recharge your body and relieve stress. If you have furry family members, don’t forget to take them along! Studies show that having a canine companion can help lower your risk of heart disease. I take my precious Eliza, a retired racing greyhound, on at least one walk every day. But she’s so spoiled she often gets at least two 15-30 minute walks per day! Every little bit counts!

3) Get Friends & Fam Involved!

As with any new venture, sometimes it’s nice not to go it alone. Or at least know you have an encouraging pal by your side. Just like with a new workout or healthy eating plan, sometimes it is nice to do it with someone. You can help keep each other accountable and motivated. Getting your friends and family involved will not only have you making the right food choices, staying active and more, but this will also encourage others to follow your healthy example!

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Why We Should Care About the Glycemic Index

What is the glycemic index? Why is it important?

These are great questions to ask and very important for us to know especially in matters of maintaining a healthy weight, or losing weight.

glycemic-indexThere are many amazing things our bodies do and sometimes we only know…well, they’re just very important. In order to help our bodies perform and maintain optimal health we need to have all the facts!

Our bodies must maintain blood glucose within a very narrow range to function optimally. Any time glucose levels are too high or too low it can effect fat mass, energy, performance and overall health. It’s a very delicate balancing act.

Unfortunately, North America is the land of plenty…plenty of highly processed and unhealthy foods that have become staples of the North American diet. These foods we think we love and crave so often are the very things throwing off the balance we’re trying to maintain.

What to look out for and keep in mind…

As often as you can, choose foods that are lower than 55 on the Glycemic Index (GI) scale.
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Here’s a helpful list of foods to embrace!

Fruits: apples, apricots, cherries, grapefruit, grapes, orange, peach, pear, pineapple, plums

Vegetables:
artichokes, avocado, beet, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, peas, leafy vegetables, squash, yams

Dairy: low fat yogurt, soy milk, skim milk

Nuts (raw): almonds, cashew nuts, hazlenuts, macadamia, pecans, peanuts and walnuts

Sweetners: granulated fructose, stevia

Protein/Fat: salmon, mackerel, trout, tuna, sardines, flaxseed, herring, olives, virgin olive oil, avocado, pumpkin seeds, eggs (range free hens), peas, beans, lentils, tofu, soymilk, turkey bacon, turkey (skinless), turkey burgers, hummus, buffalo meat, wild game meat (deer, elk, pheasant, quail)

glycemic-foodsOur goal when picking low glycemic foods is to stabilize our sugars throughout the day. This will prevent us from indulging in unhealthy cravings throughout the day, the dreaded 3 p.m. energy crash and allow us to stabilize our blood glucose levels.

Click here for a low glycemic shopping list!

Happy GI eating!