Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Best Foods for a Healthy Heart

How did you like my first printable version of a recipe? Slick huh? If you need instructions for how to make this happen on your blog, go to the Food Bloggers Unite blog and get the complete instructions.

Have you had your cholesterol level tested lately? Did you know that a total cholesterol level above 200 mg/dL places you at risk for cardiovascular disease?  My total cholesterol was 231 before I became a Nutritarian.

In the Framingham Heart Study, deaths due to heart disease were absent in subjects with total cholesterol levels below 150 mg/dL, but as cholesterol increased above 150 mg/dL, heart disease rates began to increase. That's great news for me, because the last time I had it checked my total cholesterol was 147. You can't believe how stoked I am!

But just because I lowered my cholesterol doesn't mean I can rest easy! It's always helpful for me to be reminded of the foods that are healthy for me. As a subscriber of Dr. Fuhrman's member center, I have access to and receive by e-mail tons of helpful information. It's $14.95 per month that I believe is well spent. Today I received a list of tips that I wanted to share with you. Because Healthy Girl's Kitchen s an affiliate of I am authorized to share this information with my readers. Isn't that cool? There were a giant list of footnotes to these suggestions which I have not included here.
So here are Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations for a healthy heart:

• Eat a high nutrient, vegetable-based diet with plenty of raw vegetables and cooked greens.

• Eat berries and pomegranates. The antioxidants in berries and pomegranates, such as anthocyanin and punicalagin, are especially effective in improving both LDL and HDL cholesterol.

• Avoid trans fats and minimize saturated fats. High cholesterol and heart disease deaths are more closely associated with saturated fat intake than any other part of the American diet.

• Eat one ounce of raw nuts and seeds daily. The phytosterols found in nuts and seeds lower blood cholesterol by blocking both cholesterol absorption during digestion and the re-absorption of cholesterol produced by the liver. Plus, nuts have additional cardio-protective effects that have yet to be discovered.

• Limit your intake of animal protein to at most two 3-ounce servings per week. If you have heart disease or significantly high cholesterol, avoid animal products altogether. Animal protein consumption directly increases heart disease risk.

• Eat beans daily. Beans are packed with resistant starch, soluble fiber, and phytochemicals which help to lower cholesterol. A 19-year study found that people who eat beans at least four times a week have a 21% lower risk of heart disease than those who eat them less than once a week.

• Have 1 Tbsp. of ground flaxseed each day. Flaxseeds contain beneficial omega-3 fats, lignans, flavonoids, sterols, and fiber. Clinical trials show that daily flaxseed consumption reduces total cholesterol by 6-11%. Try adding ground flaxseeds to smoothies or sprinkling them on salads.

Does anything surprise you from this list?

Are you incorporating these suggestions into your diet these days?


Anonymous said...

I have been eating this way since November after reading Eat To Live and my cholesterol has dropped from 215 to 162, I have lost 27 pounds and my overall health has dramatically improved! Hopefully, I can get my cholesterol to under 150 as well!

Sherry said...

Wendy: Your blog is one of my favorites. I am also a fan of Dr Furhman. Over the last year I gradually made changes to my eating. I am a lifetime WW, but found that over time, the plan is not a long term solution. I yo-yoed with my lifetime goal also. I made the final change of my diet over Thanksgiving after reading Eat to LIve and also following the 6 week challenge. My next "numbers check" is in May. I am excited to see what changes will occur.
Although my weight change is not dramatic, loss of 12 pounds in 9 months, my belly fat is gone. I am athletic, but even with exercising regularly, I could not loose the belly fat until I changed the intake. My diet now is free of added sugar,oils, dairy and meat.I occationally have some dark chocolate, but for the taste, not because I crave it.I admit that I will eat cheese in "veg" dishes when no other option is available.However, that is not often. I feel great, sleep better, and don't need the afternoon nap I always craved.

The biggest reward for all of these changes came last month. Although not really a "reward", I guess more of an affirmation of what this change in lifestyle has done for me. While skiing in early January, I fell and tore my ACL and medial meniscus in my Right knee. It occured the 2nd day of my season. It resulted in surgery and limited activity for over 2 months. Okay, what is the "reward"????????? Changing my lifestyle and eating has allowed this prior stress/emmotional eater to not go for the comfort foods. I have not gained any weight despite no exercise (except PT). When people ask me how I do it, I point them in the direction of the sources that have helped me get here and continue to be a great support for me. Thanks for your blog and all that you do!

Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

It's always wonderful to know that I am doing so many things right with my food intake! I am so so grateful my mom raised me with healthy foods.

Congrats on not gaining weight during your recovery period and getting your cholesterol down!

I hope you like the kale salad! It's full of flavor!

JL goes Vegan said...

Nope, no real surprises. And I mostly eat everything listed! Thanks for sharing the list with us.

Jill in Chicago said...

I'm slowly working my way through "Eat to Live" and thought I knew a lot about the nutritarian diet and Dr. F's recommendations, but I admit that I'm surprised to see animal protein on the list! (even at two servings per week.)

Jill in Chicago said...

I'll clarify my last comment -- I wouldn't characterize my diet as nutritarian because I've been eating a serving of greek yogurt here, salmon there. But maybe I am? Huh.

Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner said...

Hehe, YEAH!! Most if not all of the foods on that list are ones I eat every single day!!! :D Yeah for Healthy Hearts! :D

treebean said...

I did not know about eating beans daily to help to lower cholesterol. I am doing the Engine 2 challenge right now though and have not yet read about the necessity of eating beans. Thanks too for the roasted cauliflower-garlic soup recipe (however since I am avoiding oils, I will need to find a substitute for that ingredient)

Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) said...

treebean-beans are absolutely part of the Engine 2 Diet. As far as the soup goes, just make it without any cooking spray and it will be fine!

Lauren said...

The recipe does look slick! :)

I put flax in my oats in the morning -- I have been doing it for months so oats without don't taste nutty enough! I also throw blueberries in my oats and top them with almond butter (Edible Perspective pumpkin spice almond butter, omg so good) so that knocks out a few of Dr. Fuhrman's suggestions before I even leave for work.

The only thing that surprised me was "raw vegetables and cooked greens" -- I'm not a real foodie (I just play one on tv) so IDK -- is it nutritionally better to eat raw veggies and cooked greens (rather than raw greens and cooked veggies?)
Love the blog. Longtime reader, first time commenter. Ha.

Ryan said...
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