Heart Healthy

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Keep Your Heart Healthy & Control Cholesterol with Food First
           Heart Disease is America's number one killer of both men and women. Regardless of
gender, high cholesterol puts everyone at increased risk for heart disease. But there are some
important and simple steps you can take toward keeping cholesterol in check and improving
overall health.
         Start with food. Your diet is an important factor in controlling cholesterol. A healthful low-
fat eating plan, combined with regular physical activity, is key to heart health. In fact, new
National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines recommend that one in three Americans need
to make diet changes to lower their risk for heart disease. Foods high in soluble fiber, like
oatmeal, beans and peas, barley, and many fruits and vegetables (such as apples, oranges, and
carrots) are now recommended to help lower cholesterol levels.
           As you have read in a previous section, there are two types of cholesterol, HDL or "good"
cholesterol and LDL or "bad" cholesterol. To boost your HDL cholesterol you should stay active
and trim away excess pounds if you are not already at a healthy weight. For LDLD, your food
choices are key. A heart-healthy eating pattern - a diet that's high in soluble fiber with moderate
amounts of fat and cholesterol - can make a difference and can help reduce LDL levels. To lower
LDL, try eating more foods high in soluble fiber. Studies have shown that oatmeal helps to lower
LDL cholesterol, without lowering HDL.
Food Sources of Fiber

                                             Total Fiber         Soluble Fiber       Insoluble Fiber
       Food             Serving Size
                                              (grams)              (grams)              (grams)
English muffin                 1                  2.0                  0.5                  1.5
Spaghetti, cooked            1 cup                2.0                 0.5                   1.5
Whole-wheat bread           1 slice               2.5                  0.5                  2.0
White rice, cooked          1/2 cup               0.5                   0                   0.5
Bran flake cereal           3/4 cup               5.5                  0.5                   5.0
Corn flake cereal            1 cup                1.0                   0                   1.0
Oatmeal, cooked             3/4 cup               3.0                  1.0                  2.0
Banana                     1 medium               2.0                  0.5                  1.5
Apple, with skin           1 medium               3.0                  0.5                  2.5
Orange                     1 medium               2.0                  0.5                  1.5
Pear, with skin            1 medium               4.5                  0.5                  4.0
Strawberries                1/2 cup               1.0                   0                   1.0
Broccoli                    1/2 cup               2.0                   0                   2.0
Corn                        1/2 cup               1.5                   0                   1.5
Potato, baked with         1 medium               4.0                  1.0                  3.0
Spinach                     1/2 cup               2.0                  0.5                   1.5
What is fiber? Fiber is a substance found only in plants, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains.
The part of the plant fiber that you eat is called dietary fiber and is an important part of a healthy
diet. Dietary fiber is made up of two make types - insoluble and soluble.
What is the difference between insoluble and soluble fiber?
Soluble fiber forms a gel when mixed with liquid, while insoluble fiber does not. Insoluble fiber
passes through your digestive tract largely intact. Both types of fiber are important in the diet and
provide benefits to the digestive system by helping to maintain regularity. Soluble fiber has some
additional benefits to heart health.
What are some good sources of soluble fiber?
Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, certain fruits, and psyllium. Psyllium is grain that is
found in some cereal products, in certain dietary supplements, and in certain bulk fiber laxatives.
Read labels carefully to check for the addition of psyllium.
What are the benefits of soluble fiber?
In addition to the digestive system benefits mentioned above, soluble fiber has been scientifically
proven to reduce blood cholesterol levels, which may help reduce your risk of heart disease. In
fact, the Food and Drug Administration recently authorized food companies to use a health claim
for soluble fiber from both psyllium and oats. For example, the new claim for psyllium states,
"Soluble fiber from foods with psyllium husk, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol,
may reduce the risk of heart disease."
Overall, how much fiber should I eat and how much soluble fiber do I need?
Americans should eat 20-35 grams of fiber each day, including both soluble and insoluble fiber.
The average American currently eats 12-17 grams of fiber a day. Only about 1/4 of this is soluble
fiber; therefore, the average American is eating only 3-4 grams of soluble fiber - below the
recommended amount of 5-10 grams. Eating 3 grams a day of soluble fiber from oats or 7 grams
a day of soluble fiber from psyllium has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Quick Ways to Fit Fiber In

       Eat foods from all five food groups - Eat a variety of foods from each group.
       Remember Breakfast - A perfect time to enjoy fiber-rich foods and fuel your body for the
        day ahead. Eat oatmeal or other whole-grain cereals.
       Pick high-fiber snacks - When you need a quick energy boost during the day reach for a
        high fiber treat. Popcorn, fresh fruit, raw vegetables or nuts are convenient and healthful
       "Fiberize" your cooking style - Substitute higher-fiber ingredients in recipes. Swap up to
        1/3 of the flour with quick or old-fashioned oats when you bake. Add extra vegetables to
        casseroles, soups, salads, and pasta dishes. Use brown rice instead of white rice.
       Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily - When possible, eat the skin - it
        provides fiber, too!

The American Dietetic Association/Knowledge Center Consumer Nutrition Line
For more information: http://www.eatright.org/