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Blood Pressure, When it Rises...

Dr. Nidhi Luthra

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Eating Habits
Keep in mind that the advice to keep calories from fat to less than 30 percent does not apply to individual foods, but to your entire diet over a period of a week.

The body needs polyunsaturated fats (essential fatty acids) and fat-soluble vitamins, therefore, fats such as liquid oils and soft margarine can be included in a heart-healthy diet.

Watch portion sizes, particularly protein. For example, you only need about six ounces of protein each day.

Try reducing your intake of egg yolks which are high in cholesterol. Consider mixing one egg yolk with 2-3 egg whites to get the flavor and volume of two eggs without as much cholesterol.

Try reduced-fat, low-fat and fat-free versions of your favorite foods, keeping in mind that these foods still contain calories, and calories do count when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Cooking sprays also can be used to reduce fat when pan-frying or sautéing.

Vegetables, grains, beans, peas and fruit are naturally low in fat, so make them the center of the meal, and use meat as a side dish.

When eating out, don't be afraid to make your special dietary requests known (for example, ask that sauces, toppings and dressings be served on the side).

Look for words that signal that a food might be high in fat: buttered, fried, pan fried, French fried, creamed, creamy, with gravy, au gratin, scalloped, rich, pastry.

Make the transition to a new heart-healthy diet slowly by adding or replacing one or two items at atime (for example, replacing 2% milk with skim milk and replacing butter with a reduced-fat margarine product). It's the small changes that add up over time.

Eating right to reduce heart disease risk means you need to eat a variety of foods as well as consume less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.

Eat a Variety of Foods: Eating a variety of foods is essential for a balanced diet. Your diet should contain a wide selection of the following foods: fruits and vegetables; non-fat and low-fat dairy products; whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, starchy vegetables, and beans; lean meat, skinless poultry, and fish; and unsaturated fats and oils.

Choose a Diet Low in Total Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Reducing consumption of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol is key to a heart-healthy diet. By learning to select healthier foods listed in this brochure, you should be able to reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol you eat. The new Nutrition Facts label found on all foods also should help you select a low-fat diet. If you are preparing meals for healthy children under the age of two years, you should not restrict fat in their diets since fat is a vital element for their proper growth and development.

Choose a Diet High in Complex Carbohydrates and Fiber and Rich in Vitamins and Minerals:
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans should contribute the majority of your calorie intake. These foods provide important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and complex carbohydrates (starches) and are naturally low in fat.

Choose a Diet Moderate in Sugar: Although sugar intake has not been directly related to heart disease risk, diets high in refined sugar are often high in calories and low in complex carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins and minerals.

Choose a Diet Moderate in Salt and Sodium: Most of the sodium in our diets comes from processed foods and table salt. Since excess sodium intake may be associated with high blood pressure (a risk factor for heart disease), you should avoid consuming too much. Depending on your health status, your physician may recommend that you lower your salt (or sodium) intake to a specific level.

Salt is believed to increase the risk of heart disease by increasing blood pressure. Although for many years debate has raged in scientific circles about the relative importance of salt in high blood pressure, the latest evidence would suggest that it is, indeed, an important factor.

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