Losing Weight for Heart Health
Perhaps the most important reason for wanting to lose weight is to improve heart health. Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading obesity-related health concerns. There are a lot of ways in which being overweight impacts your heart negatively, such as increased risk for the following cardiovascular concerns:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol
- Heart attack
Unfortunately, having one of these health concerns greatly increases your risk for developing another. While it is possible to live with high blood pressure or high cholesterol and to never experience a heart attack or stroke, if your blood pressure or cholesterol level are exceedingly high then you are putting your heart under undue stress, and this makes it much more likely that you will develop further issues with cardiovascular disease.
For those who are experiencing these heart health issues as a result of obesity, the best thing that you can do for your heart and ultimately for your health is to lose weight.
Diet, Weight Loss and Heart
Conveniently, many of the changes that you would be encouraged to make following bariatric surgery are the very same changes that would help you naturally improve your blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels.
Improving both blood pressure and cholesterol levels requires making changes to your diet by reducing your intake of certain foods, such as:
- Reducing foods high in fat content, including high-fat dairy
- Reducing sugar intake
- Limiting carbohydrate intake and primarily consuming carbs that are complex
- Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables
- Reducing intake of red meats and opting for lean protein sources instead
In addition to changing what you eat, you’ll also be encouraged to change how you eat. Following weight loss surgery you are encouraged to eat smaller meals, consuming fewer calories in more often installments throughout the day.
Switching from eating three oversized meals plus snacks to eating smaller meals that will keep you satiated throughout the day is great for your blood pressure levels. Many heart health experts recommend eating five smaller meals instead of the typical three, including a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack to break up the longer gaps in between traditional meal times. This style of eating is ideal after weight loss surgery as you will have to limit how much you can eat at one time, but you need to make sure you are eating regularly so that you are getting all of the nutrients you need to stay strong and healthy.
Before making any changes to your diet, make sure that you talk to your weight loss surgeon about the best dietary practices for you following bariatric surgery. If you are concerned about your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, or heart health in general, talk to your doctor.