February is American Heart Month. Although Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, it’s actually preventable and controllable. In order to get your heart pumping before the month is over, fitness expert and founder of New York’s Willspace training studio, Will Torres shared his six steps for improving your overall wellness and promoting a healthier heart—expect a slimmer silhouette too:
1. Drink 2 liters of water a day. The average person consumes about 1 liter of water per day, which often comes from acidic beverages like coffee, soda and tea. When you don’t take in enough water, the body is forced to retain water it would otherwise release, causing achy muscles, bloating and fat storage. Drinking 2 liters of pure water per day will boost your metabolism, dilute acids and wash away toxins that pose a threat to your health.
2. Substitute sugary fruits. No matter where it comes from, sugar will cause you to store fat. Replace fruits high in sugar, such as pineapple, banana and papaya with fruits that have a lower sugar content like berries, cantaloupe and watermelon. Steer clear of fruit juices—many contain a high amount of concentrated sugar without providing the fiber.
3. Remove dairy from your diet. Not only does dairy create acid and cause bloating, but also high levels of the protein casein (which makes up 87% of milk) have been linked with cancer. Cheese is especially risky, as it takes 10 pounds of milk to make just 1 pound of cheese. Cut back the dairy from your diet and you will look and feel leaner while reducing your risk of cancer.
4. Boost your calcium intake with plant foods. The body uses calcium as a buffer to neutralize the acids that build up from stress, alcohol and poor diet. Though milk is high in calcium, it is also very acidic. A cow gets its calcium from plant food, and you can too. Try 1 ounce of almonds and ½ cup of arugula, Swiss chard or spinach to get the calcium your body needs without the excessive acidity.
5. Evaluate the soy in your diet. When it comes to soy, less is more. You only need a small amount to obtain its health benefits and you should always eat it in its natural form. Soybeans, edamame and fermented soy products like tempeh are much better for you than tofu, soy faux meat and soy snacks, which can be over processed and acidic.
6. Combine weightlifting and cardio in the same workout. This can boost your metabolism up to 10 times more than performing either component separately. Next time you’re at the gym, run 1 mile, then do 25 squats and 25 sit-ups. Repeat 3 times as fast as possible.
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