Why fish is good for the heart and arthritis

fish is good for the heart and arthritis


. Packed with nutrients

. Experts recommend eating fish two to three times a week

. Limit eating fish that are high in Mercury such as swordfish and marlin

. Anti-inflammatory affect and reduced risk of heart disease

Eating fish brings multiple benefits

Fish has long been considered good for both the heart and the brain but is also valuable in the fight against arthritis. It’s high protein and packed with nutrients such as Vitamin D, B2 and Omega 3 fatty acids. Dieticians and nutritionists recommend eating fish two to three times a week as does the Australian heart foundation.

Studies have shown that it provides benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease and depression as well as helping to lower cholesterol. Webmd goes through all of the health benefits of eating fish including ‘the growth of healthy red blood cells, DNA reproduction, and nerve function.’ It should also be part of your armoury in the battle against arthritis and today we look at how it can be beneficial to both your heart and joints.

But the first thing to note is that there is a sliding scale in terms of which fish provide the most nutritional value. There are certain fish that are best to avoid. As a general rule, try and steer clear of fish that are heavy in mercury such as shark, swordfish and marlin. Mercury is a metallic substance that often attaches itself to fish and can cause long term health issues down the road. Healthline gives you their list of best fish to eat.

What the experts recommend

  • High fish intake is associated with reduced risk of heart disease
  • Fish that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids are highly regarded

Fish that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids are the choice of the experts. These include Salmon, Mackerel and Herring. If you actively look to incorporate these types of fish into your diet you are on the right path. They are rich in calcium and protein and help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of blood clotting.

The Australian Heart Foundation ‘recommends all Australians should aim to include 2–3 serves of fish per week’ as part of a heart-healthy diet. They go on to say that ‘because our bodies cannot produce omega-3s we need to source them through our diet. The scientific evidence supports fish as the best dietary source of omega3s and found higher fish intake was consistently associated with lower rates of heart disease (heart failure and sudden cardiac death) and stroke.’

However, this study suggests that different types of fish provide different value: ‘Modest consumption of tuna or other broiled or baked fish, but not fried fish or fish sandwiches, is associated with lower risk of IHD death…..Cardiac benefits of fish consumption may vary depending on the type of fish meal consumed.’

The full list of fish that the Heart Foundation recommends are as follows:

‘Fish with the highest levels of omega-3 include salmon, blue-eye trevalla, blue mackerel, herring, canned sardines, canned salmon and some varieties of canned tuna. Other good sources of marine-sourced omega-3s include barramundi, bream, flathead, squid, scallops and mussels.’

Anti-inflammatory affect

The secondary benefit obviously relates to the issue of arthritis and how to best manage the ailment. As this study states: ‘Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce morning stiffness, the number of tender joints and swollen joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.’

But it takes time before you see the full benefits of the program. They say: ‘In our study, a significant improvement was seen at the end of the twelfth week in 7 clinical variables.’

In addition, the Arthritis Foundation states:

‘Research finds that people who regularly eat fish high in omega-3s are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA). And in those who already have the disease, marine omega-3s may help reduce joint swelling and pain. 

The anti-inflammatory effects from omega-3s are helpful not just for relieving arthritis, but also for preventing other diseases linked to inflammation, such as heart disease.’

Healthline also make the point that fish are a great source of Vitamin D, a nutrient research has concluded that arthritis sufferers are often deficient in. Healthdirect points out that both salmon and herring are high in Vitamin D.

The correlation between heart health and arthritis

  • Exercise and diet are mutually beneficial
  • There is a flow-on affect when you look at the big picture

And that’s an important point to note that these two ailments often go together. Your heart relies on exercise and blood circulation but arthritis often prevents people from engaging in any form of physical activity because of the pain and discomfort involved. The arthritis foundation states that ‘these conditions are closely linked and often coexist.’

So you have to look at the big picture. Exercise is important, as is diet, but they often go together. If you can get your diet right that may help with your arthritis which may lead to becoming more mobile down the road which will naturally help your heart because exercise is such a big part of heart health. There may well be a flow-on affect. As the sum of all parts, eating fish regularly is certainly a great start because it’s highly beneficial to both the heart and the joints.

But this is obviously only a small piece of the puzzle and if you want to take a more holistic approach you will need to think about developing a thorough muscle strength program and enacting some lifestyle changes which can help you to manage arthritis. For more information, feel free to read our articles on the importance of muscle strength for seniors and how to manage arthritis.

The best way to cook and prepare fish

And the final point we will look at is the best way to prepare fish and how you can incorporate it into your diet. have given a list of healthy fish recipes that includes Brazilian fish stew, Roasted Chili Lime Cod and Baked sole fillet. Fish soup is another popular choice that is relatively easy to prepare, and if you are looking for a healthy side dish thespruceeats lists asparagus and kale, which can help with cholesterol, blood pressure and weight loss, as among the options.

In terms of how to prepare it, healthline, livestrong and verywellfit have all listed their healthiest ways to prepare fish with baking, grilling and poaching the popular choices. The heart foundation advises against frying fish because it ‘can destroy omega-3s. Further, deep fried fish is also often cooked in unhealthy fats and will not provide heart health benefits.’


Webmd: Health benefits of fish

Fish: Health Benefits, Nutrients per Serving, Preparation Information, and More (

Healthline: 12 best types of fish to eat

Best Fish to Eat: 12 Healthiest Options (

The Heart Foundation: Fish and omega-3: Questions and answers

NCBI: Cardiac benefits of fish consumption may depend on the type of fish and meal consumed: the cardiovascular health study

NCBI: The effect of Omega 3 fatty acids in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis receiving DMARD’s therapy: Double blind randomized control trial

Arthritis Foundation: Best Fish for Arthritis

Healthline: The 10 best foods to eat if you have arthritis Foods high in Vitamin D Healthy fish recipes for easy, everyday meals

Healthline: What is the healthiest way to cook fish?

What Is the Healthiest Way to Cook Fish? (

Livestrong: Healthiest way to cook fish

Verywellfit: 6 healthy ways to cook fish

The Spruce Eats: 15 Delicious Side Dishes for Fish


Berries are all purpose and particularly good for arthritis

berries are good for arthritis


. High in antioxidants

. Significant anti-inflammatory effect

. Help to reduce pain associated with arthritis

Why are berries beneficial?

  • Antioxidants protect and repair cell damage
  • Berries are a rich source of several phytochemicals and nutrients

Berries are a great fruit to incorporate into your diet across all walks of life but particularly if you are a sufferer of arthritis. Diet can impact your management of arthritis and it’s well established that foods such as fish, broccoli and garlic all have therapeutic value but one of the best food groups to incorporate is fruit and vegetables. Berries in particular are considered to be of great benefit and over the course of this article we will look at the nutritional value of berries, strawberries and blueberries.

As the Arthritis foundation states: ‘Berries top the charts in antioxidant power, protecting your body against inflammation and free radicals, molecules that can damage cells and organs’, so they have anti-inflammatory properties and anti-inflammatory effects, which is great news for sufferers of arthritis.

The benefit of fruits

Berries are quite often found in plant based foods, so any diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables is a great start. What antioxidants do is essentially protect and repair cell damage. Arthritis is essentially the wearing away of ageing joints so it’s a natural fit. The Arthritis foundation also tells us that other beneficial fruits that you could consider are tart cherries, avocado, watermelon and grapes.

This study gives the scientific explanation as to why fruits are so beneficial:

‘Dietary fruits, especially berries are a rich source of several phytochemicals and nutrients which may explain much of their physiological effects as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Commonly consumed berries, such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are a rich source of several polyphenols.’

As stated here, berries bring with them a potent anti-inflammatory element: ‘Fruits, such as berries and pomegranates are rich sources of a variety of dietary bioactive compounds, especially the polyphenolic flavonoids that have been associated with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.’

Berries help to manage pain and discomfort

One of the issues with arthritis is the pain and discomfort that comes with it. Staying active is important as is losing weight, which releases stress on your knees and joints, but food also plays it’s part. This study suggests that the compounds found in strawberries are a useful weapon in alleviating some of the pain that comes with knee arthritis.

‘Given the economic burden of obesity and related conditions, including knee OA, our study suggests that simple dietary intervention, i.e., the addition of berries, may have a significant impact on pain, inflammation, and overall quality of life in obese adults with OA.’

The following study also suggests that blueberries are beneficial in this regard. It states that ‘Dietary polyphenols have been studied for their anti-inflammatory properties and potential anabolic effects on the cartilage cells. Blueberries are widely consumed and are high in dietary polyphenols, therefore regular consumption of blueberries may help improve OA.’

It goes on to say that ‘blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, as well as pomegranates are among the commonly available fruits that may offer some protection against arthritis.’

What other health benefits do berries provide?

  • High in fiber and can play a role in reducing the risk of cancer and diabetes
  • Can help to lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels

Like many other fruit and vegetables, the great thing about berries is that they provide multiple benefits which is why it’s well worth your while incorporating them into your diet regardless of age or lifestyle. suggests that they help to reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of a heart attack while indicate that they are also valuable in the fight against cancer. discuss the benefits they bring to the brain and suggest that they help with memory loss to slow down mental decline. This study also states that ‘Recent clinical research has demonstrated that berry fruits can prevent age-related neurodegenerative diseases and improve motor and cognitive functions.’


NCBI: Dietary fruits and arthritis

Arthritis Foundation: The health benefits of berries

NCBI: Strawberries improve pain and inflammation in obese adults with radiographic evidence of knee ostheoarthritis

NCBI: Blueberries improve pain, gait performance and inflammation in individuals with symptomatic knee ostheoarthritis

NCBI: Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases

Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases ( Eat blueberries and strawberries three times per week 5 foods that help lower your cancer risk Strong scientific evidence that eating berries benefits the brain

Nutrition Seniors

Arthritis and the Mediterranean diet

Arthritis and the Mediterranean diet


. Some elements of the Mediterranean diet are useful in the fight against arthritis

. Fish, grains and berries are foods you should look to incorporate into your diet

. Use discretion in regards to alcohol when trying to manage arthritis

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The first thing to do is actually define what the Mediterranean diet is. As Mayoclinic says ‘The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. While there is no single definition of the Mediterranean diet, it is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nut and seeds, and olive oil.’

As a result, heavily processed foods, processed meats, trans fats and added sugars are usually avoided. Because it is based on a particular group of people and their lifestyle, the other major theme that often emerges is that is as much a way of life as a diet. Socialising, communal gatherings, even casual drinking, particularly of red wine, are not just tolerated but often actively encouraged as the social aspect is a major part of it all. Obviously you can take bits and pieces of it as you see fit but if you are going to follow the traditional Mediterraneans to the letter of the law you almost have to think lifestyle as much as diet.

What are the benefits of the Mediterranean diet?

Helpguide gives a good overview of the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet as well as some background information and lists the prevention of heart disease, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and the protection against type 2 Diabetes because of the high fiber intake as some of the benefits. Verywellfit gives their own breakdown and lists cancer prevention, benefit to arthritis sufferers, weight loss, slowing down cognitive decline and reducing blood pressure and cholesterol as some of the benefits.

Suffice to say that it’s a very popular and well known diet that has lots of supporters for the mental and physical benefits it possibly provides. Advocates of the Mediterranean diet love the freshness and vibrancy of the food and the fact that it encourages a more traditional way of living. As we said, excess sugar is avoided, meat is eaten sparingly and the focus is on food sourced from the earth – plant foods, fruit and vegetables, fish and seafood, all of which can provide value. For flavour, meals are cooked in olive oil and topped up with red wine. Like we said, with so much of the focus on natural food and social interaction, it feels like the sort of diet to really get you in the mood to live life to the fullest.

Is the Mediterranean diet helpful for arthritis?

When constructing a diet to reduce the symptoms of arthritis there are certain foods you can incorporate.  These include fish, grain and berries amongst others. They provide value because they are good at reducing inflammation which is one of the keys to managing arthritis. We have previously looked quite extensively at why fish is good for both the heart and arthritis. Foods you should look to avoid are fats, sugar and salt. It’s a matter of common sense but you should avoid foods that inflame the condition and eat foods that improve the condition.

This health study goes on to say that ‘Twenty-four percent of subjects reported that foods affect their RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis), with 15% reporting improvement and 19% worsening. Blueberries and spinach were the foods most often reported to improve RA symptoms, while soda with sugar and desserts were most often reported to worsen RA symptoms.’ In regards to olive oil this study suggests it has a positive impact. It states that ‘Studies have also shown that incorporation of olive oil in diet decreases the risk of developing RA.’ also backs the virtues of the Mediterranean diet in the battle against arthritis. They discuss certain studies that have proven aspects of the diet to be of benefit. They state that ‘the disease-fighting power of the Mediterranean diet stems from its ability to regulate inflammation by focusing on anti-inflammatory foods (berries, fish, olive oil) and excluding or limiting pro-inflammatory ones (red meat, sugar and most dairy). OA (osteoarthritis) is now known to have an inflammatory component, so this way of eating can lead to real improvements in joint pain.’

What about wine?

Wine is a staple in that part of the world and a key part of the Mediterranean diet but what is its affect on arthritis? The studies are varied but it’s generally accepted that excessive alcohol can be detrimental to those already suffering from the ailment. It can potentially inflame the condition.

But if you drink in moderation, it might not be all bad. You have to find the right balance. In regards to red wine there might be some good news. According to the Arthritis foundation: ‘Red wine has a compound in it called resveratrol, which has well-established anti-inflammatory effects. Some studies show wine consumption is associated with a reduced risk of knee OA, and moderate drinking is also associated with a reduced risk of RA.’

But it does also state that ‘many experts question the strength of these studies.’ However, other studies have drawn similar conclusions. This study states that ‘intra-articular injection of resveratrol may protect cartilage against the development of experimentally induced IA.’  

But red wine also has a reputation for bringing other benefits to the table. Healthline looks at its virtues and suggests that it may help both the heart and mental health, promote longevity, help to combat inflammation and also be of benefit because it is rich in antioxidants. Mayoclinic also delves into whether a glass of red wine is good for the heart but the best advice seems to be to tread lightly and do so gently and moderately.

Look at all options

When looking a the big picture, The Mediterranean diet certainly has some elements to it that make it an attractive option. You can certainly source specific nutrients that have proven therapeutic value. But you still have to research thoroughly, consult with your doctor and consider all the other options at your disposal as well.


Mayoclinic: Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan

Mediterranean diet for heart health – Mayo Clinic

Helpguide: Healthy eating – The Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean Diet –

Verywellfit: 12 Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

12 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet (

NCBI: Diet and Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms: Survey Results From a Rheumatoid Arthritis Registry

NCBI: Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis with Dietary Interventions

Arthritis Foundation: Mediterranean Diet for Osteoarthritis

Arthritis Foundation: Best drinks for arthritis,a%20reduced%20risk%20of%20RA.

NCBI: Effects of resveratrol in inflammatory arthritis

Healthline: Can a Glass of Wine Benefit Your Health?

Mayoclinic: Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?


Learn about healthy heart rates

A woman checking her heart rate


. Learn how to lower your heart rate

. Learn about target heart rate and resting heart rate

. Your target heart rate is between 50 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate

. A lower resting heart rate is optimal because it means your heart is highly efficient

. Are heart monitors useful?

A birds-eye view to heart health

Today we talk all things heart rate and how you can use that data to optimise your health. The two main metrics used are resting heart rate and target heart rate. The former refers to the efficiency of your heart on a day to day basis, which is an indicator of general health, while the latter relates to your target zone in terms of energy and intensity while exercising, which helps to preserve your long term health. We will look at both in more detail in a moment.

But first some background on what can affect your heart rate and how you can control your heart rate. In the basics of heart health we looked at the core tenets of exercise, nutrition and lifestyle as the main factors that are under your control. If you take take a holistic approach and treat all three aspects seriously, you’re overall heart health will certainly improve. Your age, emotional state and fitness level can all affect your heart rate.

The key points are to sleep well, reduce stress, exercise regularly, cut back on smoking and alcohol and to eat a balanced, healthy diet that includes lots of fruit and vegetables. The Australian heart foundation recommends doing some form of physical activity five days a week, either 2.5-5 hours of moderate activity or 1.25-2.5 hours of vigorous activity, or some combination of the two and Hopkins Medicine recommends a mix of aerobic exercise, resistance training, stretching, flexibility and balance to create a diverse and holistic health program to achieve full benefit.

Target heart rate

  • Listen to the signs and understand your own body
  • Consistently working within the target heart zone is optimal

But once you’ve made it a point to exercise the next thing to consider is exactly how hard you should exercise, and this is where your target heart rate comes in. You are essentially trying to find the optimal level of effort while exercising to reap the most benefit. In other words, how fast and how hard should you go.

Too relaxed and you might be leaving something in the tank, and too intense and you might be doing more harm than good. Like most things in life, it’s about finding that right balance to achieve the most reward. To calculate your maximum heart rate the most basic rule is to subtract your age from 220. Once that number is established, for most people their target heart rate is considered to be somewhere between 50 and 85 percent of their maximum heart rate.

While experts differ on whether people should obsess over this, the best approach seems to be to use it as a guide. If you’re falling under that 50 per cent threshold, it could be interpreted as a sign that maybe you can afford to work a bit harder, but within reason. If you are looking for some ideas on motivation or how best to structure your fitness program feel free to read our articles on how much you should exercise and the benefits of exercise to get your mind prepared.

The most important thing is to know your own body. You have to listen to the signs and understand what you’re capable of. Things of this nature are a guide to help you in the right direction. The more informed you are and the more knowledge you have the better off you will be. The point is that by consistently working in your target heart zone you are giving yourself the best possible chance of securing your long term health through correct exercise habits.

Resting heart rate

Your resting heart rate is one of the benchmarks that medical experts will use to determine your overall health. What this is really judging is efficiency and functionality by assessing how hard your heart has to work on a day to day basis.

With that in mind, a lower resting heart rate is optimal because it means your heart is so efficient that it doesn’t need to work as hard to do its job properly. Everything is in good order. For adults, between 60 and 80 beats per minute is considered optimal and anything above 90 is usually considered a little high. Verywellfit gives a good overview of the resting heart rate, how it aligns with your fitness goals, and what it means for your day to day life.

A high resting heart rate is considered dangerous because it’s interpreted as a predictor of cardiovascular disease down the road. It’s important to address the issue early and rectify it while you’re healthy enough to do so. As we said earlier, the way to do that is through diet, exercise and lifestyle.

This study looked at the correlation between resting heart rate and the overall fitness of Brazilian adolescents. It first defines the meaning behind the numbers:

‘Heart rate reflects the number of contractions of the ventricles per unit time and fluctuates substantially with variations in systemic demand for oxygen.’ What this basically means is that the heart has to work harder when it’s not getting the appropriate supply of oxygen. The findings indicate that aerobic exercise is beneficial to your overall health. They also underline why it’s important to get into good exercise habits at a young age and maintain them right throughout your life.

Above 90 beats per minute

  • Above 90 beats per minute is entering dangerous territory
  • Activate health and lifestyle choices to lower your heart rate

But what if you are starting to enter that danger zone above 90 beats per minute. This study interprets the data as such:

‘Results from this meta-analysis suggest the risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality increased by 9% and 8% for every 10 beats/min increment of resting heart rate….but a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular mortality was observed at 90 beats/min.’

So again, when you approach that 90 beats per minute threshold you’re entering dangerous territory and it’s important to activate lifestyle choices for your own health and wellbeing. For your own benefit, you should make some serious life decisions while you’re still healthy and active enough to do so.

It’s important for people of all ages to monitor their heart rate and take the data seriously. But the good news is that through diet and exercise you can rectify any underlying issues and preserve your long term health provided that you fully commit to the correct course of action. If you are looking for a diet plan, here are some ideas for healthy eating for the heart.

Bradycardia: Slow Heart Rate (Below 60 beats per minute)

The flipside to a fast heart rate is obviously one that’s too slow, commonly referred to as bradycardia, and defined as a heart that beats at fewer than 60 beats per minute. For some people this can be interpreted as a health issue that needs to be monitored. Mayoclinic gives a good overview of the condition and point out that it should be noted that there are exceptions to the rule and that elite athletes and healthy young adults who fall under this bracket aren’t considered a health risk.

But for some people it is an issue. describes some of the symptoms of bradycardia as being fatigue, dizziness, confusion and shortness of breath and some of the potential complications as being heart failure and fainting. In regards to problem and remedy they state that the main issue is that ‘a heart rate that’s too slow can cause insufficient blood flow to the brain’ but that ‘in many cases, a pacemaker can regulate the heart’s rhythm, speeding up the heart rate as needed.’

If you feel that you are at risk keep a close eye on things and always call a doctor if you start to experience any symptoms. Mayoclinic lists age, smoking, recreational drug use, heavy alcohol use and high blood pressure as some of the risk factors.

Should you use a heart monitor?

  • Heart monitors are useful for the serious fitness trainer
  • More information is valuable for very focused goals

Whether you feel you need a heart rate monitor or not I suspect will come down to how serious and driven you are about your training, how much of a details person you are and how goals orientated you are. If you tick all of those boxes the chances are that a heart rate monitor may be a viable investment and something that could be quite useful for your personality type.

If you are a bit more laid back the traditional method of taking your pulse before and after each training session may suffice. In other words, it depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your training and how hard you want to push yourself. The more focused your goals are, the more information you’re going to need and probably want.

The basic concept is that you attach a strap to your chest and electrode sensors pick up your heart rate and then transmit that data to an external source like a watch or phone app, from which you can then dissect and analyse all of that information in the form of graphs, variance and fluctuation and things of that nature. There are other models available worn as a wristwatch or armband and wareable gives a good overview of all the different options available.


Heart Foundation: Physical activity and your heart health

Hopkins Medicine: 3 Kinds of Exercise That Boost Heart Health

Verywellfit: Resting Heart Rate and Fitness

NCBI: Association between Resting Heart Rate and Health-Related Physical Fitness in Brazilian Adolescents

NCBI: Resting heart rate and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in the general population: a meta-analysis

Mayoclinic: Bradycardia Bradycardia: Slow Heart Rate–slow-heart-rate

Wareable: Best heart rate monitor: chest straps and HR watches compared

Resources Workouts

Progression and resistance training

Progression and resistance training.


. Set clear goals in regards to progression and resistance training

. Volume builds endurance and intensity builds power

. Work at your own pace

To make progress with resistance training you first have to establish what you’re trying to achieve. The target and the pace you move at is heavily intertwined because of the work and commitment required. It’s a good idea to ease yourself into your work and lay a foundation first. Try and build for the long haul without attempting a quick fix.

The first thing we will look at is volume and intensity and how to balance those variables. As a general rule, volume in fitness is directed more towards increasing endurance while intensity is geared towards power, strength and explosiveness. How you structure your resistance training program will be determined by what you are trying to accomplish and the balance you’re trying to strike. There are different studies available that outline how different fitness programs have performed.

How to structure your program

This study suggests that ‘high-intensity (3–5 RM), low-volume resistance training program utilizing a long rest interval (3 min) is more advantageous than a moderate intensity, high-volume (10–12 RM) program utilizing a short rest interval (1 min) for stimulating upper body strength gains and muscle hypertrophy in resistance-trained men.’

It goes on to say that ‘These results are consistent with previous comparative studies in resistance-trained individuals showing high-intensity programs were more conducive for increasing strength while producing similar magnitude of muscle hypertrophy.’

To sum up, a high intensity workout is the fastest way to burn fat, lose weight and build strength. But this type of high intensity workout is something you should ease yourself into. It’s not always suitable for those starting out or those susceptible to injury. Ideally, you want to build up to this point by getting experience under your belt before you move into the high intensity phase.

When you feel that your body is strong enough you can start to add weight and add repetitions. You should only do so when you have enough confidence in your own body. As this study states: ‘Progression in resistance training is a dynamic process that requires an exercise prescription process, evaluation of training progress, and careful development of target goals.

Specificity when progressing

The single workout must then be designed reflecting these targeted program goals including the choice of exercises, order of exercise, amount of rest used between sets and exercises, number of repetitions and sets used for each exercise, and the intensity of each exercise.’ They conclude by saying ‘The resistance training program design should be simple at first for untrained individuals but should become more specific with greater variation in the acute program variables during progression.’

So these are the basics of formulating and progressing through a resistance training program. We have talked about why resistance training is important and how you can vary the program but in regards to working through your progressions specificity is possibly the key. You need to clearly define what you want to achieve as you start to meet more challenging goals.


NCBI: The effect of training volume and intensity on improvements in muscular strength and size in resistance-trained men

NCBI: Fundamentals of resistance training: progression and exercise prescription

Exercise Resources

Different forms of resistance training

Different forms of resistance training.


. Isotonic, Isometric and Isokinetic are all different forms of resistance training

. Important to incorporate a program that is diversified and not one-dimensional

. Elastic resistance is a useful alternative to conventional resistance

Why is it important?

Resistance training is designed to make your muscles, tendons and joints stronger and more flexible. It can act as some combination of injury management and injury prevention as well as helping with your general health and overall quality of life by developing flexibility, stamina, strength, self-confidence, endurance and weight loss. If you are looking to understand the benefits of a comprehensive resistance training program this is a good overview, but in this article we will be specifically looking at the different forms of resistance training available to you.

What are the different variations?

Isotonic, Isometric and Isokinetic exercises are considered some of the different classifications of resistance training. Isotonic refers to exercise where you apply weight and then ask the muscle to complete a full range of motion. Most exercises at the gym fall under this category as do sit-ups and push-ups and everyday activities like walking and swimming. It covers quite a broad range of activities. The benefits include the improvement of muscle strength, endurance and bone density. These are great exercises to improve your overall quality of life and functionality.

Isometric exercises are generally lower impact and more body friendly. They are designed to be not quite as strenuous and perhaps a great option for those suffering from injury, illness or overuse. The biggest difference is perhaps the range of motion you put your body through with your own body weight used as resistance from a stationary and stable base. The benefits are that of convenience (they can be done from anywhere) and time (they can be done quickly). Examples include planks, bridges and yoga. These sort of exercises are great to improve flexibility, balance and core strength.

And finally, isokinetic exercises are speed controlled exercises where the muscle contracts and shortens under a controlled environment at constant pace. However, it has to be said that while these type of exercises can diversify your program they aren’t quite as important if you’re just starting out. Initially, it’s perhaps best to lock down the basics first as these are slightly more advanced exercises or more tailored towards specific clients in regards to injury rehabilitation or elite athletes looking to boost a specific muscle group by developing power at speed. It also often requires specialised equipment to carry out the function. As a general rule, it’s fine to work exclusively with isotonic and isometric exercises.

Structuring your program

In terms of how you formulate and structure your program there are different options available but what often emerges is that the best way to achieve optimal benefit is to diversify your program to cover as many bases as possible. As this study suggests it’s important to consider all the variables when compiling your program: ‘Variables that should be considered include motor performance increases, amount of strength gains and range of motion of the strength gains.’

The next point to consider is what specific exercises to put into your program. This study states: ‘One of the many variables that coaches and researchers face when designing RT programs is exercise selection. They can be classified as multi-joint (MJ) or single-joint (SJ) exercises. Most popular recommendations postulate that RT sessions should involve 8 to 10 exercises performed in multiple sets with both single (SJ) and multi joint (MJ) exercises.’

Both are certainly beneficial but because they are a little more challenging multi-joint exercises are great for a more holistic workout and will perhaps result in the most benefit. Give your body time to recover, let your muscles rest and recuperate and make it a point to apply the correct technique when doing any exercise. Start with a smaller weight if necessary but make sure you apply the correct body motion as you work through your program to prevent injury and accidents.

Load building

The next concept is load building. Load management is an important concept to consider when deciding if you want to place the emphasis on increasing strength or building endurance. A large load with low repetitions will build strength while a smaller load with more repetitions will develop endurance. In terms of your overall goals, a high intensity workout is the fastest way to burn fat, build strength and lose weight, while a steadier program is great for injury prevention, injury maintenance and building long term stamina.

This study looked at the difference in impact between moderate load resistance and low load resistance. The program ran for six weeks, eight exercises, four times a week. The study concluded that both variables help to achieve muscle strength and achieve body composition: ‘RT performed with moderate-to-heavy loads is recommended to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibres…RT with a low  number of repetitions and intermediate RM is considered an appropriate stimulus to increase strength and skeletal muscle mass. Alternatively, RT performed with a higher number of RM is well recognized to increase muscular endurance.’

Elastic resistance and Medicine balls

And the final point we will look at is the use of Medicine balls and the difference between elastic resistance and conventional resistance. One of the benefits of using elastic bands is versatility and portability. You can take them wherever you go and it’s a great cost-effective option that provides a holistic and total body workout. The drawback is that you might not get as strenuous of a workout as you would with free weights and conventional resistance but it’s certainly a piece of equipment that is worth the investment because of the convenience and options they provide.

This study suggests that elastic resistance is a very valuable tool and doesn’t lose anything in comparison to conventional resistance: ‘Evidence from this study suggests that resistance training with elastic devices provides similar strength gains when compared to resistance training performed from conventional devices. These findings allow coaches, physiotherapists, and even patients to opt to use devices with low costs, ease of handling, and which can be used in different places, such as elastic devices, for maintenance and gain in muscular strength.’

Medicine balls are a great vehicle to achieve total body fitness which is a large part of what resistance training is all about. All of the things that you want to achieve like strength, endurance and power are possible through the use of Medicine balls along with flexibility, balance and weight loss. When used properly, this is one of the most simple, convenient and most functional pieces of equipment that can be incorporated into your weekly exercise program. The reason why it is so effective is because it is a high impact workout that covers a broad range of movement that touches every aspect of your body. Healthline gives a rundown of some excellent exercises you can incorporate to achieve your full body workout.


NCBI: Types of strength training

NCBI: Resistance Training with Single vs. Multi-joint Exercises at Equal Total Load Volume: Effects on Body Composition, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and Muscle Strength

NCBI: The Effect of Different Resistance Training Load Schemes on Strength and Body Composition in Trained Men

NCBI: Effects of training with elastic resistance versus conventional resistance on muscular strength: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Healthline: 10 Medicine Ball Moves to Tone Every Muscle in Your Body


Why resistance training is good for you

Man exercising through resistance training


. Resistance training improves balance, bone density and mental awareness

. Strengthens vulnerable parts of your body and makes them flexible and malleable

. Targeted training helps to strengthen muscles, tendons and joints

The basic principle of resistance training

A workout regime that places a strong emphasis on resistance training is a great option for people at different stages of their fitness journey. It hits a lot of the key target areas in terms of what you want out of an exercise plan. It shouldn’t be your only focus because you should also incorporate some form of cardiovascular component but resistance training can certainly be one of the building blocks.

As the name suggests, the basic principle is a strength program where you work against an obvious force and challenge the muscles to become stronger and more developed. The benefits are a combination of strength, stamina and injury prevention. You can strengthen the vulnerable parts of your body such as your muscles, tendons and joints by making them more flexible and malleable. By doing this they are more likely to withstand the rigors of day to day life.

As a general rule, resistance training can be achieved through some combination of your own body weight, resistance bands, medicine balls or free weights such as dumbbells and barbells. There’s enough variety there to put together a workout plan that is stimulating and rewarding at the same time without being too predictable, and that’s the balance you’re trying to achieve. The goal is to harness and manipulate these different apparatus in such a way so that your body is challenged and forced to respond positively and decisively through the basic principles of force and resistance.

What do you want to achieve?

The next step is to determine exactly what you’re trying to achieve:

What’s the goal?  What’s the endgame?

For seniors, the benefits are both physical and neurological. There is evidence that resistance training helps to improve balance, bone density and mental awareness, so a carefully structured program can certainly be of great benefit to elderly people who are possibly coming to terms with the changing nature of their bodies.

This study states that ‘A program of once or twice weekly resistance exercise achieves muscle strength gains similar to 3 days per week training in older adults and is associated with improved neuromuscular performance. Such improvement could potentially reduce the risk of falls and fracture in older adults.’

For younger people resistance training can still be a cornerstone component of your training program because of the high-impact nature of the exercises which make it a great way to burn calories and manage your weight, which is obviously one of the things that most people are trying to do with their fitness regime.

Young adults are also creating good habits they will carry on later in life. These include benefits to the heart such as reducing cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. They can also delay the effects of arthritis by cultivating a body that is stronger and more resilient.

Older bodies deteriorate

Older bodies naturally start to deteriorate so it’s important to put in place measures that prepare us for that transformation. Resistance training is a great way of doing that. This study states that ‘Inactive adults experience a 3% to 8% loss of muscle mass per decade. Ten weeks of resistance training may increase lean weight by 1.4 kg, increase resting metabolic rate by 7%, and reduce fat weight by 1.8 kg.’

They also say ‘Resistance training may promote bone development’ and ‘enhance cardiovascular health by reducing resting blood pressure’. These are the benefits to adopting a structured resistance training program. If you want more information you can also learn the best way to safely progress through a program as you gain more experience.


NCBI: Once weekly resistance exercise improves muscle strength and neuromuscular performance in older adults,and%20fracture%20in%20older%20adults.

NCBI: Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health

Exercise Seniors

The importance of muscle strength for seniors

Muscle strength for seniors.


. Muscle strength for seniors is important because a natural decline occurs as we age

. We need to replenish what we are losing

. Those who engage often report feeling happier and more outgoing

Why is it important?

As we get older our muscles, joints and tendons naturally lose strength, flexibility and function. It’s an unfortunate fact of life. To counteract that it’s important for seniors to do their own muscle strength training to replenish what they are losing. We can’t go back in time but we can certainly slow the decline. If you commit a certain amount of time each week to strengthening your muscles, tendons and joints you will continue to be physically productive.

This study outlines how the ageing process can be attributed to ‘a number of physiologic and functional declines that can contribute to increased disability, frailty, and falls’ through a reduction of muscle strength. It suggests that strength training is an excellent way of combating the natural deterioration of the body. ‘Done regularly (e.g., 2 to 3 days per week), these exercises build muscle strength and muscle mass and preserve bone density.’

And this study also talks about the intensity and effect of strength training in seniors. It states that ‘the elderly need strength training more and more as they grow older to stay mobile for their everyday activities. The goal of training is to reduce the loss of muscle mass and the resulting loss of motor function.’


Osteoporosis is a common ailment that arises as we get older and there is evidence to suggest that strength training helps to neutralise the effects of this condition. This is because one of the goals is to improve bone strength by challenging the body to respond and get stronger. As this study states ‘Of the several exercise training programs, resistance exercise (RE) is known to be highly beneficial for the preservation of bone and muscle mass.’

It goes on to say that ‘Exercise training, especially RE, is important for the maintenance of musculoskeletal health in an aging society’ and that ‘Based on the available information, RE, either alone or in combination with other interventions, may be the most optimal strategy to improve the muscle and bone mass in postmenopausal women, middle-aged men, or even the older population.’

Psychological benefits of building muscle strength

While the majority of health benefits are physical there is also evidence emerging that there are definite psychological benefits that are a direct by-product. Seniors who engage in this type of strength and resistance work often report feeling happier, more confident and outgoing. A chemical reaction is unlocked as well as being a natural boost to your self-esteem when you successfully challenge yourself.

This study suggests that ‘Resistance training improved exercise-related motivational and volitional characteristics in older adults. These improvements were linked to continuing resistance training 1 year after the supervised intervention.’ Greater motivation and positive reinforcement are certainly some of the psychological benefits that can come with strength and resistance training.

Resistance bands and core muscles

If you are a little reluctant to start working with heavy weights another option at your disposal is to start using elastic bands which are a great alternative. Resistance bands are convenient, efficient and portable which means you can take them wherever you go or do your workout from the comfort of your own home. There is also less chance of injury because you are not working with heavy weights but rather pushing against your own bodyweight. There is plenty of upside to working with resistance bands and this study states that ‘resistance exercise using elastic bands is effective for improving the flexibility and balance of the elderly people living in the community’.

Because of the full body workout you often get, resistance bands are also a great way to work the core muscles which are pivotal to any muscle strength program regardless of age. The core muscles refer to the trunk, hips, pelvis, abdomen and lower back. This is an important area to develop because it essentially holds the rest of the body together and plays an important role in day to day life and everyday functioning. If you can build this area up it helps with balance, posture and stability and at some level helps to prevent minor overuse injuries from occurring because of the strong foundation you have created. Healthine gives an overview of some good core exercises for seniors.

Structuring your program

So that’s an overview of why it’s important to build muscle strength as we age. The final point we will touch on is how best to structure your program. The first thing to consider is frequency. Two to three times per week with eight to ten repetitions for each exercise is a good starting point. You can ease yourself into your work and it’s not too time consuming. As a result, your body will naturally adapt.

Once you are confident you can either add repetitions or frequency but still be mindful of not overloading your body. You want to try and achieve a balanced fitness program and one that is sustainable over the long run. Muscles also need time to grow and relax in between so it’s important to put some distance between your workouts. Stay dehydrated, keep a safe work area and develop your strength training slowly and steadily.


NCBI: The benefits of strength training for older adults,independence%2C%20and%20vitality%20with%20age.

NCBI: Effects of Resistance Exercise on Bone Health

NCBI: The Intensity and Effects of Strength Training in the Elderly

The Intensity and Effects of Strength Training in the Elderly (

NCBI: Motivational characteristics and resistance training in older adults: A randomized controlled trial and 1-year follow-up

Healthline: Core stabilizing ab exercises to help prevent injury in seniors

Abdominal Exercises for Seniors: For Stability (

NCBI: Effectiveness of resistance exercise using elastic bands on flexibility and balance among the elderly people living in the community: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Effectiveness of resistance exercise using elastic bands on flexibility and balance among the elderly people living in the community: a systematic review and meta-analysis (


How you can manage arthritis

Managing arthritis with diet, exercise and lifestyle

. Diet, exercise and lifestyle are three keys to how you can manage arthritis

. Keep active, stay moving and avoid slipping into a sedentary lifestyle

. Limit salt, sugar and processed food and incorporate fish and vegetables

. Learn how to deal with knee, back and hand arthritis

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is commonly referred to as pain, discomfort or dysfunction in the joints. It’s often seen in seniors because of a lifetime of wear and tear but can occasionally be seen in younger people as well. The first thing to note is that like a lot of ailments it’s sometimes out of your control. You may not be able to prevent it from taking hold due to a variety of hereditary and genetic factors. But by committing to a regular exercise plan you can strengthen the area around the joints which lessens the potential for inflammation down the road. Building muscle strength is imperative for seniors. It should be said that exercise doesn’t have to be taxing or time consuming – it has to be consistent and regular – a couple of times a week so your body can adapt and get stronger over time.

Managing arthritis

  • Stay active or the condition will deteriorate
  • Walking and swimming are great low impact exercises

As for managing arthritis day to day there are some common sense principles you can apply. Make the effort to stay active or your condition will deteriorate. Keep the blood circulating, the joints moving and the body in motion to alleviate some of the pain. Avoid living a sedentary lifestyle which only exacerbates the condition. Walking and swimming are low impact exercises that are a great way of doing this. If you can stay active and lose a little weight you will certainly ease the burden on your knees, hips and joints which is a great first step. Mayo clinic lists age, obesity, family history, previous joint injury and gender (women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis) as risk factors, so if you fall under any of these categories you have to be extra diligent abut managing the condition meticulously.

Get into good Exercise Habits

A national health survey recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week. But it seems there is certainly room for improvement as the AIHW states that 75 per cent of people over 65 were not sufficiently active as of 2014/5. This study outlines the correlation between exercise and the management of arthritis and states:

‘The importance for the inclusion of exercise training in the treatment of RA is now clear and proven. Exercise in general seems to improve overall function in RA without any proven detrimental effects to disease activity. RA patients should be encouraged to include some form of aerobic and resistance exercise training as part of their routine care.’

Arthritis Australia gives a good overview of what type of exercise you should be looking to incorporate into your weekly program. They suggest focusing on exercises that can help you improve fitness, flexibility and strength training. Anything that improves your mobility and gets you up and about is certainly beneficial in this regard. The activities listed there include walking, water exercise, tai chi, yoga and dancing.

While it’s important to exercise regularly, it’s also important to exercise correctly. Your joints are like shock absorbers so you want to treat them well. Learn to use the right technique so you’re not putting unnecessary stress on the body. Also make it a point to stretch properly as a flexible body is a body less likely to succumb to injury.

Eating well helps to manage arthritis

  • Fish and Omega 3 fatty acids are of great benefit
  • Garlic, ginger, spinach and Olive oil are also beneficial

In regards to diet, we have previously looked at the value of berries and fish in the fight against arthritis. These are two great foods that you should really look to incorporate into your diet if you are serious about managing the condition. Berries are high in antioxidants, have considerable anti-inflammatory effect and can help to reduce the pain associated with arthritis. Fish is the other food that you should consider if you are living with arthritis and are interested in pain management.

As the Arthritis foundation states: ‘Among the most potent edible inflammation fighters are essential fatty acids called omega-3s – particularly the kinds of fatty acids found in fish.’ In terms of the type of fish they say ‘The best sources of marine omega-3s are fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel. Eating a 3- to 6-ounce serving of these fish two to four times a week is recommended for lowering inflammation.’

Similarly, this study makes further observations on the value of dietary interventions: ‘We believe that an ideal meal can include raw or moderately cooked vegetables with addition of spices like turmeric and ginger, seasonal fruits and probiotic yogurt’. These are ‘good sources of natural antioxidants and deliver anti-inflammatory effects.’ It goes on to say that it’s best to avoid processed food and high salt. Healthine gives a good account of all the foods that may improve the condition like garlic, ginger, spinach and Olive oil and they also give a good overview of foods to avoid like sugar, salt and alcohol that can potentially inflame the condition.

Knee Arthritis

The two most common forms of knee arthritis are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. The former is generally viewed as a wear and tear or overuse type of injury which sees an eroding away of cartilage and bone on bone friction which creates pain and swelling in that general area. As orthoinfo describes the latter is viewed more as an autoimmune disease which ‘means that the immune system attacks its own tissues.’ There is often swelling and inflammation and if left unattended can cause serious problems down the road in regards to long-term joint damage.

If you are worried about knee arthritis on a large scale you should certainly consult your doctor on the best course of action to take. If you are just gathering information about prevention the Arthritis Foundation has listed a series of exercises that might be beneficial. They are directed towards building up the muscles around the knee to provide a strong base. They state that these exercises ‘target quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes – the muscles that contribute to healthy knee function and help prevent injury.’ Healthline has also listed some exercises that could be useful. As we said earlier, the other thing you can try and do is to lose some weight to ease the pressure on your knees and lower body joints.

Back and hand arthritis

  • You may need target exercising around you back and spine
  • Avoid using tools that place undue stress on the joints

The other two forms of arthritis that are quite common are back and hand arthritis. Again, in both cases, it is divided into osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. One being a wear and tear issue and the other being a chronic disease that affects different parts of the body resulting in tenderness, tightness and joint pain. If you suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible as in some cases you may need further x-rays and possibly surgery as well as obviously rest and recovery. If it’s not quite as serious there are certainly some good anti-inflammatory drugs on the market that can be prescribed as well as stop-gap measures like cortisone injections and applying come combination of heat and ice that may be able to alleviate some of the pain.

Depending on what your lifestyle is, the hands and back can obviously be quite sensitive areas that can potentially be exposed to stress and strain, so be weary of overuse and always make it a point to use the right techniques when dealing with heavy weights. Arthritis Australia goes through a good overview and explanation of back pain and the things you have to be mindful of. Some of the ailments that can occur include osteoporosis which affects the bones in the spine and the potential for a ‘slipped disk’ which affects the nerves in the spine.

Some of the recommended preventative measures include targeted training that looks to strengthen the muscles around the back and spine as well as tai chi and yoga which can improve flexibility. Medical news today also goes through what you can do to reduce hand pain including avoiding using tools that place undue stress on the joints, using an ergonomic keyboard and mouse and regularly engaging in gentle hand strengthening exercises like squeezing a stress ball or just making a fist.

But regardless of what arthritis it is that you suffer from the advice stays the similar in a lot of cases. Try and stay active, use proper technique when doing physical work or manual labour to avoid putting unnecessary stress on your joints and make it a point to eat the right foods. Genetics certainly play a role in regards to who is more susceptible and who may suffer stronger reactions so it’s certainly good to check your family history to get on top of it early and put in place solid preventative measures by activating the right diet and lifestyle as soon as possible.


Mayo Clinic: Arthritis

Arthritis – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

ABS stats: Research and Statistics

AIHW stats: Australia’s health 2018

NCBI: Benefits of Exercise in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis Foundation: Best fish for arthritis

NCBI: Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis with Dietary Interventions

Healthline: The 10 Best Foods to Eat If You Have Arthritis

Healthline: 8 Foods and Beverages to Avoid with Arthritis

Arthritis Foundation: 6 exercises for knee OA pain

6 Exercises for Knee OA Pain | Arthritis Foundation

Healthline: Easy exercises for knee arthritis

Orthoinfo: Arthritis of the knee–conditions/arthritis-of-the-knee

Arthritis Australia: Back pain

Back pain — Arthritis Australia

Medical News Today: How to prevent and manage arthritis in the hands


A guide to healthy eating for the heart

Healthy eating for the heart


. Healthy eating for the heart comes back to balance, moderation and portion control

. Fruit and vegetables should be keenly incorporated into your diet

. Limit salt, fats and sugar

Balance and portion control are keys

Balance is the key to developing a diet that doesn’t put your health in long-term jeopardy. Try and adhere to the basic principles of balance, moderation and portion control. Now let’s move to the specifics. The first point we will address is portion control. Eat what you have to eat and and resist the temptation to splurge because that moves everything out of sync. By doing this you can start to control your weight and sugar level which is important to your long term health.

The most dangerous scenarios are high blood pressure, diabetes and potentially heart disease. By exercising disciplined portion control you can limit your exposure to these harmful ailments. High blood pressure is caused through stress, smoking and a lack of physical activity but can also be caused by your diet. There is a strong correlation between excessive salt as well as certain fats and sugar. By cutting these items out, or at least limiting them, you can minimise the risk of high blood pressure. In regards to diabetes, you also have to be careful with your sugar intake, especially in regards to soft drinks.

How to avoid high blood pressure

  • A high reading is considered to be anything over 140/90
  • Stress, genetics and obesity all play a role

High blood pressure or hypertension relates to the force of blood against the artery walls. A high reading is considered to be anything over 140/90. As webMD points out the exact causes of high blood pressure are not known but things like stress, genetics, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise are thought to play a part. Some of those things are out of your control but certainly exercising and removing stress are things you can actively engage in to lower the risk.

The other thing is obviously to control your diet. The Heart Foundation lists fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and reduced fat and dairy as the areas to focus on in regards to reducing blood pressure. Healthline also provides a list of foods that are beneficial including salmon, berries, beans and lentils, carrots, celery and pistachios. They also provide a list of foods to avoid that includes salt and sodium, deli meats and frozen pizza.

Foods to lower cholesterol

Like blood pressure, cholesterol is something that can be controlled through diet and lifestyle. Exercise plays a big role here as well but in terms of food the faster you can move away from discretionary foods like takeaway, chips, pies, cakes, things of that nature, to a more balanced diet that incorporates the five key food groups the better off you will be.

In terms of specialised foods, Harvard Health lists oats, beans, nuts, foods fortified with sterols and stanols and fatty fish as their preferred items to help lower cholesterol. In terms of foods to avoid, Medical News Today lists sausage, bacon and organ meats such as kidney and liver as foods to eat sparingly. Try and make a concerted effort to limit your consumption of fats, oils, sugar and salt. A good rule of thumb to follow is to try to eat less than fifteen grams of fat and six grams of salt per day.

Protein and energy

  • A healthy serving of fruit and vegetables goes a long way
  • You can also source protein from lean meats and eggs

The next point to consider is what to actually put on your plate. It has to be remembered that part of having a healthy heart is actually having the energy to exercise and stay active which is a crucial part of heart health. So on the one hand it’s good to eat foods that positively influence blood pressure and cholesterol but it’s also good to eat foods that provide you with protein and energy to actually help you exercise on a regular basis and we can look at both. Look to incorporate a healthy serving of fruit and vegetables, grain and certain fish such as tuna and salmon from a holistic sense.

In terms of energy, two key sources are protein and wholegrain. You can source protein from lean meat and eggs as well as fish and poultry and wholegrain that is high in fibre such as oatmeal. Brown rice and bran are also a valuable source of energy. Healthline gives a good overview of the value of brown rice and some of the benefits are certainly heart health and weight loss. It’s good to incorporate these types of food items because they help to keep your weight in check while still giving you ample energy and that’s a good combination to have.

Fruit and vegetables are key to a healthy heart

The other food group that you really have to be diligent about perusing is obviously fruit and vegetables. This should be a staple and is almost mandatory for your long-term health. According to the AIHW, between 2007/8 and 2017/8 approximately 50 per cent of Australians did not meet the fruit recommendations and almost 95 per cent did not meet the guidelines associated with vegetable intake. 7.3 per cent of the total burden of disease in Australia was attributed to poor diet and 1.4 per cent was attributed to a diet low in fruit, so it stands to reason that we all need to be vigilant about our food choices.

Healthline gives a list of heart healthy foods and there are several fruit and vegetables listed including leafy green vegetables, berries, avocados, beans and tomatoes. The great thing is that fruit and vegetables also provide you with so many other benefits. They are high in fiber, reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes, and provide numerous nutrients and minerals that help to improve your quality of life. This list of 50 foods that are super healthy gives a great overview of what you should be eating and why fruit and vegetables must be a priority.

Australian dietary guidelines

  • Source items from the five key food groups
  • No single food can provide all the required nutrients

According to the Australian dietary guidelines, one should make a concerted effort to source items from the five key food groups. The recommendation is that we seek a wide variety of food to achieve a balanced diet, not always in one day but certainly over the course of a week. As stated in the guidelines: ‘No single food can provide all the nutrients in the amounts needed for good health’. You have to expand your boundaries and actively source those nutrients.

The evidence for consuming a wide variety of foods as summarised in the guidelines suggests that a ‘higher quality diet is associated with reduced morbidity’ and that ‘diversity in food intake can reduce an individual’s exposure to any one group of toxicants.’ But it also goes on to say that Australians as a general rule eat from a wide variety of cuisines which should supply the ‘nutritional needs of the population but appropriate choices must be made to ensure that all nutritional requirements are met.’


WebMD: Causes of high blood pressure

Heart Foundation: 5 Foods to help lower blood pressure

Five foods to help lower blood pressure (

Healthline: The 17 Best Foods for High Blood Pressure

The 17 Best Foods for High Blood Pressure (

Healthline: Eating with High Blood Pressure: Food and Drinks to Avoid

Eating with High Blood Pressure: 9 Foods and Drinks to Avoid (

Harvard Health: 5 foods that avoid high cholesterol

5 foods that fight high cholesterol – Harvard Health

Medical News Today: Foods with high cholesterol to avoid and include

High-cholesterol foods: Foods to avoid and include (

Healthline: Is brown rice good for you?

Is Brown Rice Good for You? Benefits, Weight Loss and Nutrition (

AIHW stats: Poor diet

Healthline: 15 incredible heart healthy foods

Healthline: 50 foods that are super healthy

50 Foods That Are Super Healthy (

Australian dietary guidelines pages 32-33



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