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May 17, 2016

A healthy diet for a healthy heart

Valentine’s Day saw people thinking of love and things of the heart and we thought it would be a good time to focus on making sure that what you eat helps your heart and your general well-being.

  • Live longer and stronger: Good nutrition keeps muscles, bones, organs, and other body parts strong for the long haul. Eating vitamin-rich food boosts immunity and fights illness. A proper diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes.
  • Sharpen your mind: Key nutrients are essential for the brain to do its job. People who eat a selection of fruit, leafy veggies, and fish and nuts can improve focus and decrease their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Feel better: Wholesome meals give you more energy and help you look better, resulting in a boost to your mood and self-esteem. It’s all connected – when your body feels good, you feel happier inside and out.

You can feel better now and stay healthy for the future by choosing wholesome, nutritious foods. A balanced diet and physical activity contribute to a higher quality of life and enhanced independence as you age.

Food your body needs as you age:

  • Fruit – Focus on whole fruits rather than juices for more fibre and vitamins and aim for at least 2-3 servings each day. Break the apple and banana rut and go for berries or melons.
  • Veggies – Colour is the key. Choose rich, dark, leafy greens (such as kale, spinach and broccoli), as well as orange and yellow vegetables (such as carrots, squash and yams). Try for 2-3 cups of veggies every day. Please note, leafy green vegetables may be contraindicated if you are on blood thinning drugs.
  • Calcium – Maintaining bone health as you age depends on adequate calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. You need 1,200mg of calcium a day through servings of milk, yoghurt or cheese.
  • Grains – Choose whole grains over processed white flour for more nutrients and more fibre. If you’re not sure, look for pasta, breads and cereals that list “whole” in the ingredient list.
  • Protein – As well as red meat, include more fish, beans, peas, eggs, nuts, seeds, milk and cheese in your diet.

Remember that all these things are a guide and it’s still okay to have a treat now and then. So if the love of your life gives you chocolates – enjoy!!

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