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HEART HEALTHY DIET

The "Put Your Cardiologist Out of Work" Diet

There are several diets that can help lower your risk of heart disease.

Figuring out what to eat can be confusing, so we've combined the best parts of these diets for you.

The term "Mediterranean Diet" refers to a dietary pattern that is common in olive-growing regions around the Mediterranean Sea.  

Studies have found that following a Mediterranean diet can decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes by as much as 30%.  Moreover, this diet has been linked to a lower incidence of cancer, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. 

The main components of a Mediterranean Diet include:

  • High in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.  

  • Extra-virgin olive oil as the primary source of fat.

  • Low-to-moderate amounts of fish, poultry, and dairy products.

  • Minimal red meat and alcohol.  

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The "Put Your Cardiologist Out of Work" Diet

GRAINS

6 to 8 servings a day

Examples of 1 serving of grains:

◦ 1 slice of whole grain bread

◦ ½ a large English muffin or bagel

◦ 1 small whole grain tortilla

◦ ½ cup cooked wild rice or whole grain pasta

◦ ½ cup dry cereal

◦ ½ cup cooked oatmeal or other cooked cereal

Grains are foods like bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. It's better to choose whole grains over refined grains because they have more fiber, more nutrients, and a lower glycemic index.  Whole grains take longer to break down, which means they don't make your blood sugar rise as quickly.  For example, choose brown rice instead of white rice, whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta, and whole-grain bread instead of white bread. You can find products labeled "100% whole grain" or "100% whole wheat" to help you choose.


Foods with a lot of viscous soluble fiber (10 grams or more per day) can help reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol by 5-10%.  Some examples of foods with this kind of fiber are oats, barley, psyllium (found in Metamucil, Kellogg's All-Bran Bran Buds cereal, or Nature's Path Smart Bran cereal), glucomannan (taken as a supplement in pill form), or chia seeds. Oats have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol by 4-23%.

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