There are a number of risk factors involved when evaluating
your overall heart health. Some of these risk factors can be controlled,
and others cannot. The good new is that making healthy dietary choices
can reduce your overall risk for heart disease.
Some people have a higher risk for "Bad" LDL cholesterol if
they fall into the following groups:
I am a male at least
45 years old
I am a female at least
55 years old
I am a female under 55
years old with premature menopause and have
not had estrogen replacement therapy
Early heart disease runs
in my family (a parent or sibling under 55 if
male, or under 65 if female).
I am a smoker
I have high blood pressure
I have diabetes
I have a low "good"
HDL - cholesterol level (less than 35).
By changing your diet, you can actually decrease your risk for heart disease.
Eating fewer high-fat, high-cholesterol foods and watching calories are
'important steps to a healthier diet and a healthier heart. With your
doctor, determine the number of calories you need each day to achieve
or maintain a healthy body weight.
Eat fewer high-fat foods
Lower cholesterol intake
to less than 300 mg per day
Keep fat intake to less
than or equal to 30% of your total daily calories
Choose foods high in
starch and fiber
Replace some saturated
fat with unsaturated fat
If you drink alcohol,
do so in moderation
Decreasing fat and cholesterol in your diet is also very important in
decreasing your risk for heart disease. Why should you trim the amount
of fat in the food you eat? Why switch to a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet?
The answer is simple: Lowering dietary fat can lower your risk of having
a heart aftack!
A family history of heart disease, a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol,
smoking, lack of exercise, and obesity can all contribute to your risk
of hardening of the arteries. Beware: Saturated fats may raise your
blood cholesterol as much as or even more than products containing cholesterol.
You may feel fine, even if you have a high cholesterol level or other
risk factors. In fact, for many people, a heart attack is the first sign
Fortunately, many Americans can lower their blood cholesterol to an acceptable
level by changing their diets. By following a low-fat, low- cholesterol,
high fiber diet, you can help control your blood cholesterol and reduce
your risk of a heart attack.
A seven-year, government sponsored study showed that the risk of heart
disease falls 2% for every 1% an elevated blood cholesterol is lowered.
Always consult your physician first and follow their
instructions for proper dietary intake tailored to your specific needs.
The above information is a general guideline. Always follow your physician's