Love for a healthy heart

Love for a healthy heart

We love training and lifestyle coaching. It’s our calling, our passion. So, it’s only natural to dedicate a blog to it on Valentine’s Day. But let’s not delve too much into the theme just yet and instead dive into what it means to have a healthy heart.

Lifestyle changes for your health

When you start at BOOSTClubs, it always begins with an intake; an initial conversation where we find out what your wishes are and what we can do for you. Often, we hear that people want to work on their “health.” But when you inquire further about what that means to them, it seems people don’t really know.

The WHO states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” However, there has been significant criticism of this definition from organizations such as Positive Health. Their statement on this matter reads: “People are not their conditions. Yet, in healthcare, we typically focus on them. All attention is directed towards their symptoms and health problems, and how we can solve them. Positive Health takes a different approach. The focus is not on illness, but on people themselves, on their resilience, and on what makes their lives meaningful.”

Health is a broad concept. It’s not surprising that many people strive for it, but may not fully understand what it means for them. Since this blog is about the heart, we will focus on a more physical aspect of health, namely metabolic health.

Metabolic Health

When we talk about metabolic health, we’re referring to having healthy values that influence the prevention of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. If you have 3 or more of the following symptoms, it’s called metabolic syndrome:

  1. Excess fat in the abdominal cavity
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Elevated blood sugar levels
  4. Elevated blood lipid levels
  5. Low HDL cholesterol levels

Lifestyle factors can influence these values, and we’ll explain how that works below!

Nutrition and the heart

Your dietary pattern influences your heart and vascular health through the following pathways:

  • The type of fat you consume affects your cholesterol levels.
  • The amount of salt you consume affects your blood pressure.
  • The number of calories you consume affects your weight and belly fat.
    • Having a lot of belly fat increases your risk of heart and vascular diseases.
    • Having a lot of belly fat increases your risk of diabetes.
      • Diabetes increases your risk of heart and vascular diseases by damaging the blood vessels.

We previously mentioned the experiment by Mark Haub in this blog. For 10 weeks, he only ate chocolate, candy, and cookies but made sure to consume no more than 1800 calories. As a result, he lost weight, but what was even more remarkable is that his blood values improved. His ‘bad cholesterol (LDL)’ decreased by 20%, and his ‘good cholesterol (HDL)’ increased by 20%. Weight control seems to be the most powerful dietary intervention from the above. Therefore, how many calories you eat is more important than what you eat.

However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter at all. Even when our weight is stable, we can still influence our health. For example, we can influence our cholesterol levels with the type of fat we consume.

The main types of fat you consume are classified into saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products (except fish), while unsaturated fats are mainly found in plant-based and fish products.

Saturated fat seems to increase your LDL cholesterol, which is often seen as bad cholesterol. This can stick to your blood vessels’ walls, leading to clogging.

On the other hand, unsaturated fat increases your HDL or good cholesterol. HDL essentially cleans your blood vessels.

A good balance between your HDL and LDL contributes to good heart and vascular health. Therefore, try to consume as much fat from plant-based products such as nuts or olive oil instead of fatty meats or dairy products. Also, make sure to consume one portion of fatty fish weekly! Additionally, fiber intake seems to decrease your LDL, so vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are your friends!

However, LDL doesn’t stick everywhere. This often happens in places where the blood vessels are damaged by smoking, aging, or high blood pressure.

The latter seems to be influenced by our diet as well, particularly with our salt intake.

But before you remove your salt shaker from the table, it’s good to know that we don’t add 40% of our salt ourselves… It’s already hidden in the processed foods we buy.

So, it still seems wise to eat mostly relatively unprocessed foods!

So, what should you do for a healthy heart:

Perhaps you’re already lost in all the explanations. So, here’s a summary:

  1. Reduce your intake of fatty meats. Especially think of highly processed meats such as hamburgers and hotdogs. These also contain a lot of salt.
  2. Replace butter with olive oil for cooking or margarine on bread.
  3. Replace full-fat dairy (products) with low-fat dairy (products). These also contain more protein per 100 ml.
  4. Eat a handful of (unsalted) nuts regularly. Remember that these are calorie-rich!
  5. Eat a portion of fatty fish weekly. Not in the form of fried fish but salmon, herring, or mackerel!
  6. Eat 250 grams of vegetables daily.
  7. Eat 2 pieces of fruit daily.
  8. Eat as many whole grain products as possible.
  9. Reduce your intake of highly processed products.

In addition to all these dietary tips, exercise also plays an important role in your heart health and vascular health.

With love, we’re here to help you work on your health. Would you like to experience what it’s like to work with us? Book your trial lesson here, and we’ll gladly tell you about what exercise can do for your heart.


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