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Urology

Eat Healthy to Avoid Heart Disease

Eat Healthy to Avoid Heart Disease You are what you eat—and what you don’t eat. Studies have linked diet and cardiovascular disease. Other factors also play a role in who develops the disease, but choosing the right diet can help keep your heart healthy.

“It is well known that certain foods, namely foods high in saturated fats and trans fats, animal fats and fats used in processed foods, lead to unfavorable changes in our lipid profile (cholesterol and triglyceride test), increasing the LDL or bad cholesterol and lowering the HDL or good cholesterol,” says Cardiologist Brian Arcement, M.D. “This has a direct impact on the rates of atherosclerosis (thickening of the artery walls) and cardiovascular disease.”

“In general, any food with trans fats should be avoided completely, ” says Dr. Arcement. “Foods that contain saturated fats and simple sugars should be consumed sparingly, as well as foods that are higher in cholesterol, such as whole eggs and shellfish.”

Numerous studies have confirmed that reducing consumption of high saturated and trans fat foods leads to lower rates of cardiovascular events. “Conversely, foods that are higher in mono and polyunsaturated fats tend to lower the LDL cholesterol and improve the HDL cholesterol leading to lower cardiovascular events,” Dr. Arcement says

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Tips for Eating Heart Healthy

Dr. Arcement recommends eating 4-5 small meals a day, which include a small amount of a lean protein and complex carbohydrates and a generous helping of fibrous vegetables

  • Good lean protein sources include:
    • Chicken or turkey breast
    • Fish
    • Soy
    • Egg whites
  • Complex carbohydrates should consist of low glycemic carbohydrates which break down to sugars much slower than other carbohydrate sources. These include:
    • Brown rice
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Oatmeal
    • Whole wheat pasta
    • Quinoa
    • Rye/Pumpernickel bread
  • Fibrous vegetables can be consumed in larger quantities because their caloric content is typically very low. These include:
    • Kale
    • Romaine lettuce
    • Cucumbers
    • Asparagus
    • Celery
    • Broccoli/Cauliflower
    • Beans

“It’s also healthy to consume several watery fruits, like watermelon, apples, pears, oranges, peaches and grapes as snacks between meals,” Dr. Arcement says. “Avoid starchy fruits such as bananas. Small amounts of nuts can be consumed to provide a good source of mono and polyunsaturated fats in addition to the fats from fish sources and small amounts of olive oil used for salads.”

Foods high in fat and processed sugar are sometimes favorites, but should be consumed in small quantities, Dr. Arcement says. “In general, any food with trans fats should be avoided completely,” he says. “Foods that contain saturated fats and simple sugars should be consumed sparingly, as well as foods that are higher in cholesterol, such as whole eggs and shellfish.”


Brian K. Arcement, M.D.
Cardiology
Lee Physician Group
14051 Metropolis Avenue
Fort Myers, FL 33912
239-334-7177

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Heart Healthy Food Finds

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