Wellness Update - - Meet Our Doctors -

A healthy life­style can help pre­vent coronary artery disease and help keep it from pro­gress­ing. A heart-healthy life­style in­cludes eat­ing right, reg­u­lar ex­er­cise, main­tain­ing a healthy weight, no smok­ing, mod­er­ate drink­ing, no recre­ational drugs, con­trol­ling hy­per­ten­sion, and man­ag­ing stress. Car­diac re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­grams are ex­cel­lent to help pre­vent re­cur­ring coronary prob­lems for peo­ple who are at risk and who have had coronary events and pro­ce­dures.

Eat­ing right

A healthy diet in­cludes a va­ri­ety of foods that are low in fat, es­pe­cially sat­u­rated fat, low in choles­terol, and high in fiber. It in­cludes plenty of fruits and veg­eta­bles, nuts and whole grains, and lim­ited sodium. Some foods are low in fat but high in choles­terol and some are low in choles­terol but high in fat. Sat­u­rated fat raises choles­terol and, in ex­ces­sive amounts, in­creases the amount of the clot-form­ing pro­teins in blood. Polyun­sat­u­rated and mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats are good for the heart. Fat should com­prise no more than 30% of to­tal daily calo­ries. Choles­terol, a waxy sub­stance con­tain­ing fats, is found in foods such as meat, eggs, and other an­i­mal prod­ucts. It also is pro­duced in the liver. Sol­u­ble fiber can help lower choles­terol. Di­etary choles­terol should be lim­ited to about 300 mil­ligrams per day. Many pop­u­lar lipid-low­er­ing drugs can re­duce LDL choles­terol by an av­er­age of 25-30% when used with a low-fat, low-choles­terol diet. Fruits and veg­eta­bles are rich in fiber, vi­ta­mins, and min­er­als. They are low calo­rie and nearly fat free. Vi­ta­min C and be­tac­arotene, found in many fruits and veg­eta­bles, keep LDL choles­terol from turn­ing into a form that dam­ages coronary ar­ter­ies. Ex­cess sodium can in­crease the risk of high blood pres­sure. Many pro­cessed foods con­tain large amounts of sodium. Daily in­take should be lim­ited to about 2,400 mil­ligrams, about the amount in a tea­spoon of salt. The "Food Guide" Pyra­mid devel­oped by the U.S. De­part­ments of Agri­cul­ture and Health and Hu­man Ser­vices pro­vides easy-to­fol­low guide­lines for daily heart-healthy eat­ing. It rec­om­mends 6 to 11 serv­ings of bread, ce­real, rice, and pasta; three to five serv­ings of veg­eta­bles; two to four serv­ings of fruit; two to three serv­ings of milk, yo­gurt, and cheese; and two to three serv­ings of meat, poul­try, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts. Fats, oils, and sweets should be used spar­ingly. Canola and olive oil are bet­ter for the heart than other cook­ing oils. Coronary pa­tients should be on a strict diet. In 2003, the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion ad­vised a diet rich in fatty fish such as salmon, her­ring, trout, or sar­dines. If peo­ple can­not eat daily serv­ings of th­ese fish, the as­so­ci­a­tion rec­om­mends three fish oil cap­sules per day.

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