Good Food for Your Heart

To prevent heart disease avoid or limit processed foods, fats, sugar and sodium in your daily diet.  McLeod Cardiologist Anne Everman, MD, offers tips on the good, bad and avoidable when it comes to your food choices:

Here’s a summary of Dr. Everman’s presentation:

We tell people don’t have more than 2 grams (2,400 milligrams) of sodium a day. That’s less than 1 teaspoon of salt.

Why are some fats good and some fats bad? The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats come from fruits and vegetables, fatty fish, avocados and nuts. They lower your bad cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.

Then, there’s the saturated fats in the so-called white meats – pork and chicken, along with cheese, dairy and butter. They will increase your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol. They can increase the risk of heart disease and should be taken in limited amounts.

Then, we have the trans saturated or hydrogenated oils that come from animals. They will raise your bad cholesterol, lower your good cholesterol, increasing the risk of getting diabetes and heart disease. You want to keep those as low as possible.

Sugar is highly addictive. Once your body feels the sugar surge, it wants more. We all know it can lead to insulin resistance. It’s bad for your teeth. It has a lot of calories, increasing the risk of some cancers. It raises cholesterol and  can cause a nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Limiting the sugar is just as important, if not more so, than limiting the fat, especially if you get good kinds of fat.

Cigarettes are bad and not just because of nicotine. Cigarettes contain anything from arsenic to ammonia. Also cadmium used in batteries and butane, which is lighter fluid. Vinegar is about the healthiest thing in there. So, just don’t smoke. What happens if you quit smoking? Your lungs start clearing. In 20 minutes, heart rate and blood pressure come down. A year after you quit, your risk of coronary disease is 50 percent lower than a smoker.

Find a Cardiologist near you.