Heart Matters Digest

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

♥Cooking Your Own Food♥

“Did you know that many of the ingredients in the processed foods we eat contribute to heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States? There is no better time than February, National Heart Month, to assess your health and the health of those you love. The good news is that it can be very simple to prevent heart problems by paying more attention to what you put into your body—and the best way to do that is by cooking your own food.” (Source: Eating Well Magazine’s online newsletter.)

While this quote from the online newsletter was used to promote Eating Well‘s newsletter, I could not agree more with the statement I put in bold. Preparing your own meals is the best way to keep track of what foods go into your mouth in terms of nutrients and what foods to avoid, such as trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, too much salt and sugar, dyes, etc. And avoiding what I call non-foods is good for general health, not just your heart.


♥Healthy Heart Tips & Advice from The North American Vegetarian Society (www.navs.org) and the Vegetarian Resource Group (www.vrg.org). (They overlap so I have combined them and added some of my own thoughts.)

1. To reduce the risk of heart disease, eliminate the concentrated fats in your diet, such as meat, dairy products, eggs, butter, margarine and vegetable oils.

2. Build meals around complex carbohydrates such as whole grains,fruits, vegetables and legumes. (My addition: Make the meat or poultry the smaller portion and the fruits &b veggies the larger portions.)

3. Instead of frying or sautéing in oil, try any or all of these: water, soy sauce, fruit or vegetable juice and vinegar. (I also use my homemade soup stock. es)

4. Buy products that contain no added fats or cholesterol. (And avoid anything with trans fats or hydrogenated oils. es)

5. If you are concerned about eggs, replace whole eggs with bananas, tofu, applesauce or egg replaces when baking.

6. The recommendation from the Vegetarian Resource Group is that we get 30% or less of our calories from fat, which translates into 55 to 66 grams per day for men and 40 to 50 for women. (Higher number is for very active people.)

7. When snacking, consider more snacks such as popcorn, fresh fruits & veggies,pretzels, etc.instead of chips fried in oil, nuts cooked in oil and high fat crackers or cookies. (These often have hydrogenated oils in them. es)

8. Buy plain fresh or frozen vegetables instead of those with cheese, cream or butter sauces.

9. Buy high fiber and lower fats breads and cereals.

10 When eating out, ask that dressings and sauces be served on the side so you can control how much you eat.

11. Finally, when shopping, read labels! Track the % of fat compared with the % of fiber and protein.

Note: Vegetarians can also eat too much fat, as the Vegetarian Resource Group’s brochure notes. Vegetarian sources of fats are: oils, butter, margarine (which I avoid anyway), mayonnaise, nuts, nut butters, avocados, olives, coconut, whole milk products, eggs, cheese & ice cream.  While many of these are good fats, such as avocados, not eating too much of even good fats is important. Remember the 30% portion of your diet is fat, not 50%.

Heart Disease: There is a Gender Difference

In an interview with Laura Bush, former First Lady, she notes that she was surprised to find that heart disease was the #1 on the list of leading causes of death for women. She assumed cancer was #1.) The article also notes how women’s symptoms differ from men’s . (I had read several years ago that because men were the model for symptoms, women had heart attacks that were undetected because of the difference in symptoms. This list of Warning Signs of a Heart Attack for Women is from an article in the AARP Bulletin, July-August 2007. Before the list is a note that women don’t always have the crushing pains that many often have right before a heart attack.

♥ Chest discomfort, mild or severe, that lasts more than a few minutes and may come and go. It occurs in the center of the chest and feels like pressure, fullness or pain
♥ Discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach   
♥ Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort
♥ Nausea, light-headedness or a sudden cold sweat
♥ Extreme fatigue


♥ The 10 Best Foods for your Heart ♥

I listed these on the Home Page, but in case you missed it and because I think that food is the link to most diseases I am repeating the list below:

1. Oatmeal (Last month was National Oatmeal Month, but I think it should be in this month with the focus on the heart.)
2. Salmon
3. Avocado
4. Olive Oil
5. Nuts   
6. Berries
7. Legumes
8. Spinach
9. Flaxseed
10. Soy (avoid if allergic or if contraindicated by your health practitioner, especially if going through menopause. es)

Source: www.health.com, written by Lori Powell

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