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Nutrition Series - Number 68a April 2003

Heart Healthy Eating
What you eat is important to your heart health. The most important change is to limit the fats you eat, but not all fats are equal. Some fats are better for you than others. Food
Most fruits, vegetables, grains, pasta, bread, cereals 1 serving Pretzels, plain popcorn Fish, eg. Sole, tuna Poultry, no skin Lean red meat Sausage Skim milk Whole milk Whipping cream 2% cottage cheese Cheddar cheese Margarine/butter Mayonnaise Oil Peanut butter Nuts, seeds Chips Chocolate 1 serving 3 oz 3 oz 3oz 3oz 1 cup 1 cup ¼ cup ½ cup 1 oz 1 tbsp 1 tbsp 1 tbsp 1 tbsp ¼ cup 10 1oz

Fat (grams)
less than 2 less than 2 1 5 10 30 trace 9 22 3 10 11 11 14 8 18 7 10

Not all fats are equal:
Saturated fats and trans fats are “risky” to heart health and can increase cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are mostly found in animal foods and palm and coconut oils. These fats are hard at room temperature. Trans fats come mostly from vegetable oils that have been made solid through hydrogenation. Examples of foods that contain trans fats are hard margarine, shortening, commercial baked goods and processed snack foods. It is very important to eat less saturated fats and trans fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats lower cholesterol levels when substituted for saturated fats. Nuts, seeds, and olive and canola oils are high in monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are found mainly in plant products such as safflower, sunflower, corn and soybean oils. Choose unsaturated fats, but be careful not to have too much. Omega 3 fats are polyunsaturated fats found in fish and in flaxseed, canola and soybean oils. These fats may help to reduce your risk for heart disease. Cholesterol in your blood is influenced by many factors. Dietary cholesterol is found in animal foods only, including meats, poultry, fish and dairy products. It is important to reduce cholesterol in your diet by limiting high cholesterol foods like eggs and organ meats, but the most important factor in lowering blood cholesterol levels is to limit saturated and trans fats.

Even a small change in fat intake can make a difference when you consider that 1 tbsp of fat =14g of fat =125calories =25minutes of walking.

Activity helps control your weight, lower your cholesterol, and improves your heart health. Be active every day. Start slowly and gradually work your way up. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Following a low fat diet does not guarantee you will lose weight - all calories count! If you eat more food than you need you may have difficulty achieving a healthy weight. The key is to eat a variety of foods and keep active every day. Try following the Six Steps to Heart Healthy Eating on the next page. For more information on serving sizes refer to Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating www.hc-sc.gc.ca (search for Canada’s Food Guide)

How much?
Fat is found in almost all foods, but in different amounts. It is recommended that men eat about 50-70g of fat/day and women eat about 40-60g fat/day, depending on how many calories you need each day. Look at the following chart to see where fats are found in foods.

Six Steps to Heart Healthy Eating
All of these steps are important to help lower your blood cholesterol and control your weight. Make changes one step at a time. Reduce all added fats, especially saturated fat
• choose more often: canola oil, olive oil, and flax oil,

Limit high fat snacks and desserts
• better snack choices include: vegetables, fruit, whole

grain crackers, and low fat dairy products
• choose desserts low in fat such as fruit, low fat

nuts and seeds, nut butters and soft margarine with nonhydrogenated fats • choose less often: butter, hard margarine, lard, shortening, creamy dressings and sauces and coconut milk • when cooking foods; broil, bake, grill, steam or microwave; avoid frying and deep frying • keep total amount of fat that you add to food and in cooking to 6 teaspoons per day

pudding, angel food cake, frozen yogurt and homemade baked goods (made with vegetable oil or nonhydrogenated margarine) • choose less often: chips, cheezies, chocolates, cookies, regular microwave popcorn, ice cream and commercial baked goods

Web Sites
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada www.heartandstroke.ca American Heart Association www.amhrt.org National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (U.S.) www.nhlbi.nih.gov 5-10 Fruits and Vegetables Campaign www.5to10aday.com

Eat a variety of vegetables and fruit every day
• try fresh, frozen or pre-packaged fresh vegetable and

fruit mixtures
• add vegetables to salads, soups, stews, and stir-fries.

Cookbooks with heart-healthy recipes
Eating Light Eating Right (200l)
By Shauna Ratner, Frances Johnson North Vancouver, Whitecap Books

Season with lemon juice, vinegar, low-fat salad dressings and dips • better choices include: dark green and orange vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, romaine lettuce, carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes • choose to eat fruit and limit intake of all fruit juices • add fruit to cereals, plain yogurt or enjoy on its own as a tasty snack or dessert

Looneyspoons (2000)
By Janet and Greta Podleski New York, Perigee Publishing

Lighthearted Every Day Cooking (1991)
By Anne Lindsay Toronto, MacMillan Canada

Eat more whole grain products • better choices include: whole grain breads and cereals, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and barley • choose less often: white bread, white rice, granola, croissants, donuts, pastries, scones, biscuits and commercial muffins Choose lower fat dairy products
• better choices include: skim and 1% milk, yogurt and

For more nutrition information, call Dial-A-Dietitian at 604-732-9191 or 1-800-667-3438 to speak to a registered dietitian.

cottage cheese, low fat cheese (less than 20% milk fat) and low fat sour cream • choose less often: regular cheese, whipping cream, and sour cream

For more BC HealthFile topics visit www.bchealthguide.org/healthfiles/index.stm, or visit your local public health unit. Call the BC NurseLine to speak to a registered nurse, available 24-hours every day: • In Greater Vancouver, call 604-215-4700 • In BC, call toll-free 1-866-215-4700 • Deaf and hearing-impaired, call 1-866-889-4700 • Pharmacist available 5pm to 9am every day • Translation services in over 130 languages upon request. Visit BC HealthGuide OnLine – a world of health information you can trust at www.bchealthguide.org

Select smaller, leaner portions of meat, poultry, fish and alternatives • eat 2-3 servings of lean choices each day (1 serving = deck of playing cards). Trim fat from meats and remove poultry skin • choose fish at least twice a week (fresh, frozen or canned in water) • instead of meat choose legumes such as chick peas, kidney beans, split peas, lentils, baked beans and/or soy products like tofu at least once a week • choose less often: bacon, bologna, salami, sausages, fatty cuts of meat, egg yolk and organ meats • limit egg yolks to 3 a week

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