National Heart Awareness Month: Food For Thought
As our National Heart Awareness month wraps up, I wanted to incorporate "food as medicine" into the heart healthy regime.
Eating heart healthy foods include non-meat sources of protein (grains, tofu, nuts), fish, poultry, and lean meat (35-60 grams per day), skim or low-fat milk, cottage cheese, margarine (non hydrogenated) that is high in vegetable oils (such as corn, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, sesame, or soybean). Also onions, garlic, chickpeas, fresh vegetables and fruit.
Eat a handful of nuts each day. About an ounce of nuts a day raise the good cholesterol levels (HDL) and decrease inflammation. Nuts are rich in healthy Omega 3 fatty acids, protein and fiber.
Eat tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is loaded with lycopene and potassium. Potassium is a mineral rich in blood pressure lowering benefits! Eat 10 tablespoons of tomato sauce a week (preferably without the pasta).
Read your food labels. Get rid of any food that has sugar listed in the first five ingredients! Sugar is a cause of inflammation.
Look at sodium content. Sodium levels should not exceed 2,300mg/day.
Look at fat content. Fat should be limited to no more than 30% of total daily calories. Saturated fat should be limited to 7%
Avoid palm or coconut oil.
Water should be a very important part of any nutritional program. 6-8 8 ounces per day. Water allows for the cleansing and free flow in the system.
Decrease (excessive) coffee and other beverages that contain caffeine. Try one (great) cup of coffee a day, instead of four. I advocate up to 24 oz of coffee a day (for most people).
Take dietary control over high fat, high cholesterol and high saturated fat intake.
Eat colorful fruits and vegetables each day. Consider the Full Spectrum Diet, which includes: phytochemicals (7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily), 30 grams of fiber, flavinoids (found in red and purple grapes, red wine and black tea).
Pomegranate (Punica granatum) and pomegranate juice is now becoming a popular healthy drink. Pomegranate juice has polyphenols that work as antioxidants. There are more of these healthy polyphenols in pomegranate juice than in green tea, orange juice, or red wine.
Limiting the amount of fat to no more than 25 to 30% of daily calories is recommended to promote good health. However, some experts believe that fat must be limited to 10% of daily calories to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.
A low-fat diet also helps lower high total and LDL (the bad) cholesterol levels, another risk factor for coronary artery disease.
The type of fat consumed is important. There are three types: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated.
Saturated fats are found in meats, non-skim dairy products, and artificially hydrogenated vegetable oils. The more solid the product, the higher the proportion of saturated fats.
Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil and canola oil.
Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 fats, contained in deep-sea fatty fish (such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna), and omega-6 fats, contained in vegetable oils. The ideal combination of types of fats is unknown. However, a diet high in saturated fats is known to promote coronary artery disease, and a diet high in monounsaturated or omega-3 fats is less likely to do so. Therefore, eating fish regularly is recommended.
A high-fiber diet is also recommended. There are two kinds of fiber.
Soluble fiber (which dissolves in liquid) is found in oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries, and apple pulp. It helps lower high cholesterol levels. It may decrease or stabilize high blood sugar levels and increase low insulin levels. Therefore, soluble fiber may help people with diabetes reduce their risk of coronary artery disease.
Insoluble fiber (which does not dissolve in liquid) is found in most grains and grain products and in fruits and vegetables such as apple skin, cabbage, beets, carrots, brussels sprouts, turnips, and cauliflower. It helps with digestive function. However, eating too much fiber can interfere with the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.
Whole grains such as wheat, Oat meal, brown rice, barley comprise the most essential Vitamin B complex, dietary fiber, and other minerals, lowers hypertension, improves health of carotid arteries, reduces inflammation, thereby promotes the health of heart and arteries.
Eating soy products, such as tofu and tempeh (not fried), also seems to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.
Increase soluble fiber One teaspoon to one tablespoon of soluble fiber containing guar gum, psyllium husks, flaxseeds or pectin and can be mixed in an 8 oz glass of water two times per day on an empty stomach.
Stevia is a natural sweetener, with no side effects that should be used instead of sugar, which adds a perfect breeding ground for yeast growth.
Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit
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