Written by Jackie Acosta in Nutrition
Viewed by 268 readers since 12-01-2008
People in the modern world are living in paranoia about the foods to avoid in order to prevent the disease responsible for taking millions of lives annually – heart attack. Everyone lives in fear of Cholesterol (also known as low-density lipoprotein), although many find difficulties in completely eliminating it from their diet, especially those who grew up in the McDonald’s culture of yummy deep fried goodies. Over the decade, the awareness of the dangers of cholesterol has spread to the world; in the same way people should make it a habit not just to avoid bad cholesterol but also to include in their diet foods that battle heart diseases.
Foods rich in soluble fiber does the heart a lot of good as it reduces the amount of cholesterol being absorbed in the intestines. Some examples of good sources of soluble fiber are oatmeal, banana, prunes, apple, barley, pear and kidney beans. Oatmeal especially is a great breakfast habit, mixing it with banana increases fiber intake and enhances the taste. Not bad for something so healthy. There is also a wide variety of breakfast cereals made from oat bran; these are a very good source of fiber.
Food rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids help keep blood vessels healthy and elastic. The most popular source of this is walnuts and almonds. Studies also show that these scrumptious nuts help reduce cholesterol in blood. Nuts in general need to be taken in moderation though as they are also fattening and overweight people have a bigger tendency to experience heart problems. A way to integrate nuts in the daily diet in moderation is using almonds or walnuts as an alternative to croutons.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for those who are already have heart problems. Omega-3 is proven to not only reduce cholesterol but also lowers blood pressure and blood clot. The main source of this life-saving compound is fish, Mackarel, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon and lake trout are especially high in Omega-3. For best benefits, bake or grill the fish instead of frying to maintain the compound in the fish. Flaxseed and canola oil are also good sources of Omega-3. Olive oil is good for the heart as it contains a mixture of antioxidants that reduce bad cholesterol. Olive can be used as a salad dressing when mixed with balsamic vinegar. It is also commonly used for pasta and dips. Extra virgin olive oil is best as this type is less processed. Sterols and stanol are substances found in plants that help prevent the body’s absorption of cholesterol. There are margarines, and fruit drinks fortified with these compounds available in the market.
Cholesterol may be very hard to completely eliminate so it is important to integrate good food into one’s daily diet to greatly reduce the risk of developing heart problems. Even when taking healthy food though, it is still important to avoid cholesterol as much as possible. Food that contains saturated fat and Trans fat are the first to cross out from the grocery list.