Heart protection

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes....

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • The heart protection plan

  • So, now kale is bad?

  • Strengthen your DNA

  • The habits and routine of Nick Kyrgios

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Heart Protection Plan

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world. And while many factors contribute to your heart health, you can do your part to provide a little insurance.

Research suggests the right mix of foods can reduce your risk of heart disease by about 25 percent.

If you’ve been reading these emails, you know we're not about pushing one particular diet. That’s because many types of diets work. So it’s less about exactly what you eat and more about the types of food that benefit your body.

The study focused on a Mediterranean-style diet, which includes plenty of fiber, protein, and monounsaturated fats. Selecting foods that fall into those categories will likely deliver the type of heart protection you desire. That means finding options you enjoy from a long list of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean proteins, and dairy. In other words, you’ll eat lots of plants and less processed or red meat.

As we’ve covered before, this does not mean you need to cut out all red meat, as research suggests you’ll likely be OK with 1 to 3 servings per week (As always, check with your doctor if you're unsure about any health risks). If you want a good list of heart-healthy foods, start here.

So Now Kale Is Bad?

Someone recently sent an article suggesting kale is bad for you. Before you roll your eyes (as you rightfully should), there’s an important message — and warning — in the never-ending rollercoaster of the wellness world.

If you want to start seeing results, stop reacting to fear-driven marketing. More often than not, it’s creating a fire where there is barely any smoke. Today, your brain is filled with overcomplicated details that make you stress about every meal, every rep, and many unnecessary supplements. It’s time to shift away from that approach to something much more effective. As Arnold wrote in the foreword of my book,

“I wanted to eat kaiserschmarrn and cherry pie and be the world’s greatest bodybuilder. Your goals might differ, but the desire for healthy balance lives within us all. Consider this your guide to turning that dream into a reality.”

Becoming healthier does not require perfection. Instead, create a new reality that removes the extremes and focuses more on building habits and routines that can become automatic. Why? Because research suggests:

  • The more diet rules you have, the more likely you will fail.

  • The more you restrict foods, the more likely you will fail.

  • The more you create “black and white” thinking, the more likely you will fail.

  • The more you blame one food (carbs, fat, dairy, gluten), the more likely you will fail.

Nutrition is complex, but the structure of a plan should be simple. Create a plan that works for your schedule, maintain some of the foods you love, and try to follow a diet where approximately 80 percent is the good stuff you know is healthy (protein, fruit, vegetables, fibrous carbs, healthy fats like avocados and nuts).

When you work from a place of positivity and enjoyment, change is not only more likely — it’s inevitable.

Strengthen Your DNA

You shouldn’t be worried about Splenda harming your DNA. But you can be excited about how exercise can upgrade it.

Studies suggest that weight training reprograms your DNA so you can bounce back quicker and build muscle faster after time off.

The idea of “muscle memory” has long been folklore in bodybuilding circles, but scientists find it’s more reality than fiction. Lifting weights creates epigenetic changes that retain a “signature” that allows your body to recall what was previously done. In other words, when you take a break, you can grow muscle faster when you return to exercise than untrained people.

We’ll always advocate exercise and movement, but -- as we just mentioned -- excellent health doesn't require perfection. So if you miss a few workouts, need to recover from an injury, or decide to take off for a vacation, don’t stress. If you’ve put in the work, your body will bounce back fast. As we’ve discussed before, your strength won’t start to decrease for approximately 3 to 4 weeks. So do what needs to be done, and then get back on track.

The more we learn, the more we see that muscle is the ultimate health insurance keeping you healthy, fighting aging, and giving you the best chance at a higher quality of life as you age.

The Healthy Habits of Nick Kyrgios

As an ongoing part of my job as Netflix’s Chief Action Officer, I’m asking some of Netflix’s fittest stars to share their habits and routines. Australia's Nick Kyrgios is one of tennis’ most promising players. He’s in the Netflix tennis show Break Point, and whenever he’s on the screen, you know you’re about to hear a wild story. Here are his tips:

What's one action/item you've recently added to your daily routine that keeps you healthy?
Consciously not using or looking at my phone at times like breakfast and dinner to feel more in the moment with the company I have around me.

What's one thing you do every single day to strengthen your mental health?
Eating healthy is something that helps my mental health a lot. I feel better and lighter during the day, and I found it helps my sleeping patterns.

Do you have a health routine? If so, what is it, and how often and when do you do it?
Being a professional tennis player, we always have a routine day to day. Something I try to do is get some active recovery done in the morning by walking to a cafe to get a coffee with my team before we start the day.