Heart Healthy Diet
is on the rise in the United States and is a major risk
factor for cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart
disease. About 66% of Americans are overweight and 31% are
obese defined a body mass index greater than 30. As people
do less and less exercise while food becomes more available,
most of us are expanding our waistlines much greater than
the recommended 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.
Other than the growing child or slim, physically active
person, most of us should be following a low fat, low cholesterol,
and low carbohydrate diet. The first thing to pay attention
to is how much we eat. Portion sizes have increased dramatically
in restaurants over the past twenty years. Just because
it is on your plate doesn’t mean you have to eat all
of it. Try to eat only a handful-sized portion. Try
to eat only half a handful of the fattiest foods.
the food pyramid from grade school. We have modified that
a bit. At the top of the triangle are the most calorie-rich
foods. These are the oils and sugars and should be avoided.
If you have to have red meat try no more than two servings
a week. Pork is red not white meat. Boneless, skinless chicken,
or fish is okay once or twice a day. Salmon is the fish
richest in the right nutrients. Avoid oils in cooking
by baking not frying. Try seasoning with lemon or pepper.
Capsaicin in pepper may even prevent some cancers. Next
are other type of proteins such as beans, egg whites, or
nuts which you need 2-3 servings of daily. Then dairy foods
such as 1%, soy or skim milk, fat-free yogurt or cheese
which you should have 2-3 servings of daily. We should have
2 to 4 servings of fruits daily. We should have 3 to 5 servings
of vegetables daily especially the yellow and orange ones.
It’s because these have beta-carotene, which is a
substance that helps prevent cancer. I would recommend no
more that 4 servings of grains such as breads, cereals,
and pasta daily and again try to get the low fat low cholesterol
variety to lower the amount of calories you take in. Stay
away from those pretty, shiny pastries. Try to eat
lots of oatmeal or high fiber cereal like shredded wheat
to lower cholesterol.
important, try to avoid food with little nutritional value
such as candy, potato chips, cookies, the cream and sugar
in the coffee, the butter on the bread, and soft drinks.
Drink water, coffee, green tea, or fruit juices (notice
I said juices not drinks). If you already have high blood
pressure you need to restrict salt even more and eat potassium-rich
foods like bananas, oranges, and kiwi. If you already have
heart disease, you need to restrict the fats even more and
may not be able to eat any prepared meats such as hot dogs,
salami, or bologna. Diets high in folate and vitamins C
, E and B complex /folate supplements can prevent heart
disease. There is no solid proof for the benefit of Vitamin
E supplements. Do not forget your multivitamin supplement.
Remember your body is a temple and you can’t let yourself
be swamped with too many unbelievers.