Health & Wellness Tips From Frank NathanAug 27th, 2013 | By Admin | Category: Editorials, Health
Heart disease may be the leading killer of men and women, but that doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself. In addition to exercise, being careful about what you eat—and what you don’t eat—can help you lower cholesterol, control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy weight. If you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease or have high cholesterol or blood pressure, a heart-smart diet can help you better manage these conditions, lowering your risk for heart attack. Improving your diet is an important step toward preventing heart disease, but you may feel unsure where to begin. Take a look at the big picture: your overall eating patterns are more important than obsessing over individual foods. No single food can make you magically healthy, so your goal can be to incorporate a variety of healthy foods cooked in healthy ways into your diet, and make these habits your new lifestyle. Eat More Healthy fats: raw nuts, olive oil, fish oils, flax seeds, or avocados Nutrients: colorful fruits and vegetables—fresh or frozen, prepared without butter Fiber: cereals, breads, and pasta made from whole grains or legumes Omega 3 and protein: fish and shellfish, poultry Calcium and protein: Egg whites, egg substitutes, skim or 1% milk, low-fat or nonfat cheeses or yogurt Eat Less Trans fats from partially hydrogenated or deep-fried foods; saturated fats from whole-fat dairy or red meat Packaged foods of any kind, especially those high in sodium White or egg breads, granola-type cereals, refined pastas or rice Red meat, bacon, sausage, fried chicken Egg yolks, whole or two percent milk, whole milk products like cheese or yogurt Of all the possible improvements you can make to your diet, limiting saturated fats and cutting out trans fats entirely is perhaps the most important. Both types of fat raise your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol level, which can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke. Luckily, there are many ways to control how much saturated and trans fats you take in. Keep these culprits in mind as you cook and make food choices—and learn how to avoid them. Limit solid fat. Reduce the amount of solid fats like butter, margarine, or shortening you add to food when cooking or serving. Instead of cooking with butter, for example, flavor your dishes with herbs or lemon juice. You can also limit solid fat by trimming fat off your meat or choosing leaner proteins. Substitute. Swap out high-fat foods for their lower-fat counterparts. Top your baked potato, for example, with salsa or low-fat yogurt rather than butter, or use low-sugar fruit spread on your toast instead of margarine. When cooking, use liquid oils like canola, olive, safflower, or sunflower, and substitute two egg whites for one whole egg in a recipe. Be label-savvy. Check food labels on any prepared foods. Many snacks, even those labeled “reduced fat,” may be made with oils containing trans fats. One clue that a food has some trans fat is the phrase “partially hydrogenated.” And look for hidden fat; refried beans may contain lard, or breakfast cereals may have significant amounts of fat. Change your habits. The best way to avoid saturated or trans fats is to change your lifestyle practices. Instead of chips, snack on fruit or vegetables. Challenge yourself to cook with a limited amount of butter. At restaurants, ask that sauces or dressings be put on the side—or left off altogether. While saturated and trans fats are roadblocks to a healthy heart, unsaturated fats are essential for good health. You just have to know the difference. “Good” fats include: Omega three Fatty Acids. Fatty fish like salmon, trout, or herring and flaxseed, canola oil, and walnuts all contain polyunsaturated fats that are vital for the body. Omega six Fatty Acids. Vegetable oils, soy nuts, and many types of seeds all contain healthy fats. Monounsaturated fats. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, and butters made from these nuts, as well as avocadoes, are all great sources of “good” fat.