Make Healthy Food Choices

A heart-healthy diet is delicious and varied— rich in vegetables and fruits, with whole grains, high-fiber foods,lean meats and poultry, fish at least twice a week, and fat-free or 1percent fat dairy products. By learning to make smart choices — whetheryou're cooking at home or eating out — you can enjoy flavorful foodswhile you manage your cholesterol.

Know and limit your fats.
Unsaturated fats don't contribute to your cholesterol level the way saturated and trans fats do, but you should still consume them in limited amounts.


Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.
Most meats have about the same amount of cholesterol, roughly70 milligrams in each three-ounce cooked serving (about the size of adeck of cards). The American Heart Association recommends eating nomore than six ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, fish or seafood aday.

  • The leanest beef cuts usually includesirloin, chuck, loin and round. Choose "choice" or "select" gradesrather than "prime." Select lean or extra lean ground meats.
  • Lean pork cuts include tenderloin or loin chops.
  • The leanest lamb cuts come from the leg, arm and loin.
  • Remove all visible fat from meat and poultry before cooking.
  • Remove skin from poultry before eating.
  • Choose white meat most often when eating poultry.
  • Duck and goose are higher in fat than chicken and turkey.
  • Grill, bake or broil meats and poultry.
  • Organ meats — such as liver, sweetbread, kidneys and brains — are very high in cholesterol. 
  • Cut back on processed meats that are high in saturated fat and sodium.

Eat at least two servings of fish each week.

  • Fish can be fatty or lean, but it's still low in saturated fat.
  • Recent research shows that eating oily fish containing omega-3fatty acids (for example, salmon, trout and herring) may help loweryour risk of death from coronary artery disease. 
  • Prepare fish baked, broiled, grilled or boiled rather than breaded and fried.

Select fat-free, 1 percent fat and low-fat dairy products.   

  • Minimize your intake of whole-fat dairyproducts such as butter and whole milk or 2 percent full-fat dairyproducts (yogurt, cheeses).
  • If you drink whole or 2 percent milk, or use full-fat dairyproducts, gradually switch to fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat dairyproducts.
  • Look for fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese, part-skim milk mozzarella, ricotta and other fat-free or   low-fat cheeses.

Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.

  • Use liquid vegetable oils and soft margarines in place of hard margarine or shortening.
  • Limit cakes, cookies, crackers, pastries, pies, muffins, doughnutsand French fries made with partially hydrogenated or saturated fats.

Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol.

  • Try to eat less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day.
  • Some common cholesterol-containing foods include whole eggs (about200 mg per yolk), shellfish (50 to 100 mg per ½ cup), “organ” meatssuch as liver (375 mg per 3 oz) and whole milk (30 mg per cup).
  • Egg whites don't contain cholesterol and are good protein sources,so they're fine. In fact, you can substitute two egg whites for eachegg yolk in many recipes that call for eggs.


Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars. 
Many snack foods and beverages have added sugars. Cut back on addedsugars to lower your total calorie intake and help control your weight.These foods also tend to be low in vitamins and minerals, and thecalories add up quickly. Drinking calorie-containing beverages may notmake you feel full. This could tempt you to eat and drink more than youneed and gain weight.

  • Examples of added sugars are sucrose,glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, corn syrups, high-fructose cornsyrup, concentrated fruit juice and honey.
  • Read the ingredient list. Choose items that don’t have added sugars in their first four listed ingredients.

Choose and prepare foods with little or no sodium. 
Too much sodium in your diet can increase your risk of high bloodpressure, which in turn increases your risk of heart attack, heartdisease and stroke.

Salt is just one source of thesodium you consume every day. Many processed foods contain sodium inother forms, too. Some medicines are high in sodium. Be aware of allyour sources of sodium and aim to eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

  • Compare the sodium content of similarproducts (for example, different brands of tomato sauce) and choose theproducts with less sodium.
  • Choose frozen foods, soups, cereals, baked goods and other processed foods that are labeled “reduced-sodium.”
  • Limit high-sodium condiments and foods such as soy sauce, steaksauce, Worcestershire sauce, flavored seasoning salts, pickles andolives. 
  • Replace salt with herbs and spices or some of the salt-freeseasoning mixes. Use lemon juice, citrus zest or hot chiles to addflavor.
  • Try rinsing certain foods, such as canned tuna and salmon, feta cheese and capers, to remove some of the sodium.
Cholesterol, fiber and oat bran
Fiber is classified as "soluble" or "insoluble." When regularlyeaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, solublefiber has been shown to help lower blood cholesterol and may alsohelp reduce the risk of diabetes and colon and rectal cancer. TheAmerican Heart Association recommends that you eat at least 25–30 gramsof dietary fiber — in both soluble and insoluble forms — every day. Themore calories you require to meet your daily needs, the more dietaryfiber you need. Try to eat at least 14 grams of fiber per 1,000calories you consume.

Here are some tips to help you add more fiber to your diet.

  • Foods high in soluble fiber include oat bran,oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberriesand apple pulp.
  • Foods high in insoluble fiber include whole-wheat breads, wheatcereals, wheat bran, cabbage, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts,turnips, cauliflower and apple skin.
  • Replace low-fiber foods (white bread, white rice, candy and chips)with fiber-containing foods (whole-grain bread, brown rice, fruits andvegetables).
  • Try to eat more raw vegetables and fresh fruit, including the skinswhen appropriate. Cooking vegetables can reduce their fiber content,and skins are a good source of fiber.
  • Eat high-fiber foods at every meal. Bran cereal for breakfast is agood start, but try to include some fruits, vegetables, whole-grainsand beans in your diet, too.
  • Be sure to increase your fiber intake gradually, giving your bodytime to adjust, and drink at least six to eight 8-oz. glasses of fluidsa day.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts label on all packaged foods that claim tocontain oat bran or wheat bran.  Many of these products actuallycontain very little fiber and may also be high in sodium, calories andsaturated or trans fat.


Read labels for a healthy heart.
Make reading food labels a habit. This will help you choose foods more wisely. Many foods have saturated fat or transfat that can raise your cholesterol. Some may be high in sodium, whichcan increase blood pressure in some people. Also, watch for these keyterms, and know what they mean.

  • "Free" has the least amount of a nutrient.
  • "Very Low" and "Low" have a little more.
  • "Reduced" or "Less" always means the food has 25 percent less ofthat nutrient than the reference (or standard) version of the food.


Posted By: tajuddinThursday, April 29, 2010 Total views: 6076

blog comments powered by Disqus