Be careful with dairy

Many people have a dairy intolerance, but don’t even know about it. You’ll need to experiment with this, or could try a dairy-free alternative. If you eat a bowl of yogurt and then experience a closed, phlegmy throat, or a bloated or ‘runny’ tummy, then try to eliminate as much dairy from your diet as possible. This will help with weight loss, and improve your overall digestion.

If you can tolerate dairy, eat a small amount for the calcium benefits, but don’t overdo it. According to the Mayo Clinic, “A 2013 study from the National Institutes of Health suggests there is an increased risk of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular diseases from taking calcium supplements for men only. Other studies suggest there is an increased risk for both men and women.”

 

Allow yourself a treat

Heart health is important, and so is your diet. But having a small indulgent treat every now and then will not be detrimental to your goals. Instead of being frustrated by a diet that is ‘too strict’, or being overwhelmed with guilt when you end up ‘cheating’, add a treat day to your diet schedule. Stress affects your heart health negatively, there’s no point in adding ‘food guilt’ to your stress load.

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Enjoy a guilt-free treat, like a slice of cake, ONCE a week, as long as you stick to a healthy eating plan for the rest of the week.

Best case scenario? Enjoy your treat outdoors! The vitamin D from sunshine on your skin helps to regulate blood pressure, and being out in nature has been shown to decrease stress.