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What Foods Help Prevent Coronary Heart Disease?

Doctor Q&A

Lead Clinical Dietitian, Shawnee Mission Health

Along with exercise and a good night’s sleep, your commitment to a well-balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a healthy heart.


It’s Never Too Late to Choose a Path to Healthier Eating

If the thought of revamping your entire lifestyle seems overwhelming, take it one meal at a time, choosing foods with a focus on variety, portion size and nutritional value. If you are selecting a food with low nutritional value, plan to adjust your portion size.

As registered dietitians, we believe that all foods have a place in our diets. The key is balance. For guidelines on establishing a balanced diet for all ages, visit: https://myhealthkc.com/blog/longterm-health-starts-with-wellbalanced-nutrition


Fiber is Your Heart’s Best Friend

Adding fiber to your meal is the number one thing you can do to make it healthier and more satisfying, without adding much cost.

Treat yourself to these high-fiber ideas:

  • Add beans and lentils to soups, salads, vegetables or rice to increase fiber content.
  • Try adding red kidney beans, peas or soy beans to green salads. 
  • Experiment with adding other types of legumes to entrees or side dishes.
  • Add beans to chili, or to barbecue as a side dish.
  • Choosing higher fiber pastas, brown or wild rice, and fresh or frozen vegetables at the store can help eliminate dilemmas at mealtime.


So Many Restaurants – So Few Healthy Choices

Not necessarily! Dining out is doable:

  • Try new types of grains and vegetable dishes when eating out.
  • Experiment with new cuisines that offer a variety of foods you have never tried, especially those from the Mediterranean or Asian regions. 
  • Avoid restaurants that don’t offer a variety of fruits, vegetables and other foods. 
  • If you don’t have a choice while dining out, remember that moderation and portion size are keys to keeping “bad fats” from overtaking your diet.

 

Adding by Subtracting = A Healthier You

The formula is easy. Decreasing your intake of unhealthy foods can help add years to your life. Put these tips to use on a daily basis:

  • Limit your intake of junk food and alcohol.
  • Monitor the content of sodium and added sugars to your food.
  • Avoid eating foods high in saturated fat.

* Most products have taken trans fats off the label, but a good rule of thumb is that any fat that stays fresh when exposed to the air (potato chips, cookies), will increase your risk factors for cardiac disease.

* Strive for 4 grams of unsaturated fat for every gram of saturated fat in an item.


We Can Help

At SMH, our team of dietitians offers in-patient counseling to patients recovering from a cardiac event, as well as out-patient services to those seeking prevention or further education on management of their health.

 

Our hope is that people will gain the information needed and put it into practice before a crisis happens. Being able to plan, shop and prepare foods with heart-healthy options in mind may help prevent hospitalization.


Remember to take care of yourself first, so that you are able to take care of others when needed.


To schedule an appointment for in-depth, individualized information, call the Shawnee Mission Health Outpatient Nutrition Clinic at 913-676-2495.


For further reading, visit:

https://www.eatright.org/ - the official website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/- information offered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)