Mandy Ingber is a celebrity fitness and wellness expert whose 20 years of teaching experience have attracted such clients as Jennifer Aniston, Kate Beckinsale, Helen Hunt, Ricki Lake, Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Meyer and Brooke Shields. She is the New York Times best-selling author of Yogalosophy: 28 Days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover, and creator of the yoga-hybrid DVD Yogalosophy. Her new book Yogalosophy for Inner Strength: 12 Weeks to Heal Your Heart and Embrace Joy is out now. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
I know from experience that one of the first things to drop off during great transitions, such as dealing with grief or loss, is taking care of our bodies. We end up letting ourselves go, either by unconsciously depriving ourselves of nutrients, or by drowning our sorrows with emotional eating.
In my new book, Yogalosophy for Inner Strength, I explore foods and tips for a healthy heart. These recipes and guidelines will also regulate your moods, and will enhance your resilience during challenging times.
Even your favorite celebrities go through tough periods and have heartbreak. They must empower themselves with healthy choices, as do you! No one can feed you and make these healthy choices for you, but I can offer you the best and most sound advice.
Remember, you can’t always trust your appetite at these times, so here are my top five tips for keeping your heart healthy, even when it is hurting:
I can’t stress this enough. Your body requires hydration to digest your food, to regulate your hormones, and to be able to think clearly. I also find that when anger or sadness sets in, nothing helps more to calm and regulate my emotions than a tall glass of water.
Don’t wait until you are thirsty! By the time this happens you’re already dehydrated.
How much should you drink? That depends on your body weight. In general, half of your body weight is the amount of water you should intake in ounces during the day.
Other tips: sip slowly and don’t glug down your water, so your body can fully absorb it. Drink the majority of your H20 before 4 p.m. so that it doesn’t have you losing any sleep during the nighttime hours.
2. Eat five servings or more of fruits and vegetables.
Your heart requires the antioxidants and nutrients that you gain from dark leafy greens, as well as the fiber from whole fruits and vegetables. For those of you who have a hard time incorporating greens, try adding a cup of baby kale or spinach to your morning protein shake. I like to throw in a third of a pre-peeled and frozen banana and ¼ cup frozen mango to mask the strong flavor of the greens. The taste will deceive you of how healthy your drink actually is.
Additionally, a 16-oz. all green vegetable juice is worth two servings. Add a green juice daily to alkalize your blood.
Eat a large salad with lean protein and as many colors of the rainbow for lunch (think red peppers, purple cabbage, green olives, avocado, yellow squash and more!). Snack on sliced apple or half a grapefruit, and add a cooked vegetable like sautéed mushrooms or butternut squash soup to your dinner. The choices are endless!
3. Nourish your body every three to four hours.
When you wait too long to fuel your body, your blood sugar levels drop and not only do you lose energy, but you can become emotional without realizing why. Set your timer to go off after three hours to ensure that you are nourishing your body with regular healthy eating habits.
Consider yourself your own kid. Take care of yourself the way you would your own child. You wouldn’t wait until your child was crying to take care of him/her. Each time you replenish yourself, consider it a mini dose of self-love.
4. Treat yourself.
Yes, that’s right. It’s important to find foods that are healthy AND taste good. There are plenty of delicious and nutritious options available now. Some of my favorites are Zenbunni chocolate, KeVita Mojita Lime Mint Coconut sparkling probiotic beverage and Coconut Bliss coconut milk ice cream.
Here is a yummy recipe for homemade non-dairy, non-processed, sugar-free chocolate from my new book:
This incredibly decadent treat is made from 100 percent superfoods. When you begin to love and honor yourself, something amazing happens. You start to look forward to good wholesome healthy food! I guarantee that when you try this dessert, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything!
2 tbsp. raw coconut oil*
¼–½ cup raw cacao powder (can be cacao vegan protein powder with maca, cinnamon, hemp protein)
1–2 tsp. raw honey*
*Quantities to be determined by your desired taste and consistency. I usually start with these amounts.
1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients in proportions to desired taste and consistency. (Note that the texture will change once it’s refrigerated.) Stir until smooth and evenly folded.
2. On a piece of parchment paper, scoop out 1-inch balls or drops and put in fridge.
3. Let set until they harden (approximately 15 minutes). Eat as soon as you like, and store covered in the refrigerator for later, if you can restrain yourself from consuming the entire batch.
5. Keep heart-healthy foods in your pantry.
Here is a short list of foods that have benefits for your heart:
Salmon. WHY: Omega-3 fatty acids may slow the growth rate of plaque, which can accumulate in your arteries.
Quinoa. WHY: Whole grains aid in your digestive health, lower blood pressure and increase “good” cholesterol.
Berries. WHY: Antioxidants called polyphenols promote heart health by lowering blood pressure.
Yogurt. WHY: Yogurt contains calcium, potassium and protein, as well as prebiotics and probiotics. The protein ensures improved cardiovascular health, weight management and maintenance of lean muscle mass.
Almonds. WHY: Nuts are loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Nuts reduce the incidence of heart disease when consumed five times a week. A 1½ oz. serving will do the trick.
Here’s to your healthy heart!