Boston2:6 When lifestyle alterations are needed to improve overall health, it is much easier to start by making small changes. In this way, you are more likely to stick with the change without feeling overwhelmed. Mini improvements can also have a cumulative effect over time. There are many minor techniques to use, which will make a major difference in heart health.

1) Savor the Morning
Many believe they are giving their day a healthy start by eating bran flakes, granola or instant oatmeal. However, in processed form, these foods often contain an excess of sugar. Many also add additional sugar to taste. Granola additionally commonly contains high levels of unhealthy fat. The American Heart Association advises that we should not have more than six teaspoons of sugar per day. Consider switching to eggs and perhaps turkey bacon. Scramble the combination with a choice of fresh vegetables. The abundance of protein provided helps you feel full longer, which eliminates food cravings before the next meal.

2) Drink Black Tea
Black tea offers an abundance of antioxidants. However, research indicates when adding milk or cream, these healthy compounds bind to the dairy products and neutralize the antioxidants. If you’re finding the flavor of black tea too strong, consider switching to milder green tea, which is also rich in antioxidants.

3) Choose Red Foods
While much has been reported about the necessity to eat leafy, green vegetables, less has been shared about red foods. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant linked with reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Interestingly enough, the compound is also more easily absorbed by the body from cooked tomatoes. Strawberries, red bell peppers and other naturally red fruits and vegetables provide vitamin C and a good deal of much needed minerals along with antioxidants.

4) Restful Sleep
Health experts recommend getting seven to nine hours of sleep nightly. An adequate amount of sleep ensures that the body has sufficient time to repair itself and recover from the stress of daily function. If getting or staying asleep becomes a problem, turn phones off at night. Use window treatments to inhibit light invasion. Change bedding and pillows if needed. Unwind before bedtime by listening to soothing music or reading.

5) Small Weight Changes
If overweight, resist the urge to embark on fad diets and overwhelming exercise programs. Set more modest goals. Set a date and vow to lose one percent of your total body weight in one or two weeks. In six months, this could amount to a 10 percent weight loss.

6) Light Exercise
Take the dog for a 30 minute walk or take a simple hike in the same amount of time. Go biking for 15 or 20 minutes. Strive for 30 minutes of additional activity at least twice each week. The calories burn also aid in weight loss. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther from entrances.

7) Take a Nap
Greek researchers learned that 10-minute power naps reduced cardiovascular disease-related deaths by 37 percent. The little bit of rest helps reboot the system without causing drowsiness.

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