How to eat a heart-healthy diet

Hi, I’m Andrea HoAnd I’m Daphna Steinberg, and we’re Registered
Dietitians in the Schulich Heart Centre atSunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Healthy eating is an important way to maintain
heart health. Over the next few minutes, we’dlike to share answers to some of the most
commonly asked questions about heart healthyeating. I have high cholesterol. Should I stay away
from high-cholesterol foods like eggs andshellfish?Cholesterol in your food actually has very
little effect on your blood cholesterol. Thisis because your liver makes most of the cholesterol
in your body. What affects your blood cholesterolmost is the amount and type of fat that you
eat. The best way to lower your blood cholesterolis to choose foods that are lower in fat. Choose leaner cuts of meat, skinless poultry
and lower-fat dairy products, and limit eggyolks, the yellow part of the egg, to 3 per
week. Shellfish, like shrimp and squid, are a low-fat
alternative to eating meat, and can be enjoyedonce a week. Scallops, mussels, lobster, and
crab are very low in cholesterol and can beenjoyed as often as you like. There are a lot of different diets out there.
Should I really be limiting my fat intake?Fat has an awful lot of calories. Limiting
your fat intake,as long as you’re not replacing the calories
with unhealthy calories can be helpful forachieving and maintaining a healthy body weight. The type of fat you eat can also affect your
cholesterol levels. Saturated fats and transfats can raise your LDL cholesterol or your
lousy cholesterol. Foods that have saturatedfats typically come from animal sources, so
meats and dairy products generally have thehighest amounts of saturated fats. Make sure to choose lean cuts of meat and
skinless poultry, and trim your meat of anyvisible fat. Enjoy low-fat dairy products, like skim or
1% milk and 0% yogurtTrans fat is primarily found in commercially
processed foods. This type of fat is worsefor your heart than saturated fat, so it’s
important to choose foods that are trans fatfree. Before buying any commercially processed foods,
check the packaging to make sure it doesn’thave any trans fat in it. Look for phrases like “trans-fat free”,
“0 trans fat”, or “no trans fat”Check the ingredient list – make sure that
“shortening” or “partially hydrogenatedoil” are not listed as ingredients. If they
are, pick a product that doesn’t have thesetwo ingredients listed. Avoid using hard margarine, which is high
in trans fat. Instead, use a non-hydrogenatedmargarine, which is trans-fat free and has
very little saturated fat. What’s the best oil to cook with?Cooking oils are a good source of healthy
fats called unsaturated fats. The best oilsto use in your cooking are olive oil and canola
oil. Even though these are healthy oils, it’s
still important to limit the amount of oilthat you use when you’re cooking. Use heart
healthy cooking methods that don’t needa lot of oilSuch as steaming, poaching, baking, roasting,
and stir-frying. Avoid deep-frying or pan-frying. Even if you are using a heart-healthy oil,
your food will absorb too much extra oil duringthe cooking process. When you are adding oil to your cooking, use
an oil spray or measure out the oil that you’llbe using. I’ve heard a lot about omega-3 being good
for my heart, but I’m not really sure whatit is. Can you tell me more about it?Omega-3 fats are healthy fats that we need
to get from food because our bodies can’tmake them. We need them to help raise our
healthy cholesterol and make our blood vesselsmore elastic. The best sources are from fatty fish including
salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, herring andsardines. You can choose fresh, frozen, or
canned fish. When you choose canned fish,make sure it’s packed in water instead of
oil. You should try to eat these types offish at least twice a week. If you don’t eat fish, you can also get
omega-3 from walnuts, ground flax seeds, chiaseeds, pumpkin seeds and wheat germ. You can
enjoy these nuts and seeds every day, butmake sure that they’re unsalted and haven’t
been pre-roasted in oil. I know that fruits and vegetables are healthy.
Should I be focusing on anything else?Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins
and minerals, and they’re also a great sourceof fibre. Fibre can help to decrease your
cholesterol and blood pressure. It also helpsyou to feel full for longer, which helps with
achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight. Of course, fibre is also useful for keeping
your bowels regular. There are two kinds of fibre: Soluble fibre
which is especially helpful for lowering cholesteroland blood pressure; and insoluble fibre which
helps to keep your bowels regular. It’s importantto ensureyou get both kinds of fibre every day. Foods that are rich in soluble fibre include
psyllium, oat products like oatmeal and oatbran, legumes, and certain fruits and vegetables
like apples, pears, berries, citrus fruit,broccoli, cauliflower and squash. Insoluble fibre is also known as “roughage”,
and can be found in whole grain breads, cerealsand pastas, leafy vegetables like spinach
and lettuce; and more colourful fruit andvegetables like melons and peppers. If you’re not used to eating a lot of fibre,
start slowly, and make sure to drink plentyof water to help prevent stomach upset. I don’t have diabetes, do I still need to
watch my sugar intake?Sugar can be found naturally in food, or it
can be added to food. Sugar is found naturallyin foods like fruit and milk products. These
foods are healthy and should be enjoyed throughoutthe day. Added sugars include table sugar, honey, syrups
and foods that contain added sugars, suchas sugar sweetened beverages, desserts, and
sweetened cereals. Eating large quantities of added sugars can
increase weight and increase the risk of developingheart disease, even in people who are not
overweightSo, it’s important to limit the amount of
added sugars that you eat. Having an occasionaltreat is fine, just remember that if you have
a treat every day, it’s no longer a treat,it’s a habit.
I think I need to cut down on my salt intake. How do I do that?Salt contains sodium, and eating too much
sodium can increase your blood pressure. Sodiumis found naturally in fresh foods, but more
than 75% of the sodium we eat comes from processedand packaged foods. To cut down your sodium intake, limit the
amount of salt you eat by not adding any toyour food at the table. When you’re cooking, only add a pinch of
salt,or instead of salt, try adding flavour with
dried or fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme,or rosemary, or try using a blend of herbs
and spices. Choose fresh foods whenever possible, and
limit foods that have been processed, pickled,smoked, or saltedIf you are using canned products, make sure
to rinse them well under water firstThe foods I eat are healthy, but I’m just
not sure how much to eat. Can you tell memore about heart healthy portion sizes?Portion control is important for achieving
and maintaining a healthy body weight. A simple way to do it is to follow the plate
method. Fill up half of your plate with vegetables. A quarter of your plate should include lean
protein like fish, legumes, skinless poultryor lean meat. The last quarter of your plate
should be high-fibre starchy foods like wholegrain breads, brown or wild rice, multi-grain
pasta, potatoes with their skin still on,or corn. Then you can round off your meal
with a glass of milk and some fruit for dessert. Not every meal will fit into the plate method.
What do you do on pizza night? Yes, therecan still be pizza night. Just apply the same
ideas. Choose a pizza made with a whole-grain thin
crust and topped with lots of veggies andsome grilled chicken. Let that fill up half your plate. Then, have a big salad with it and enjoy some fruit for a sweet finish. What are some heart healthy tips for eating
out?When eating out, choose dishes that have been
prepared using heart healthy cooking methods. These include dishes that are steamed, poached,
broiled, grilled, stir-fried or baked. Choose dishes with lean cuts of meat, skinless
poultry, fish, or legumes. Choose dishes with higher fibre starch options,
such as whole wheat or multigrain pasta, brownor wild rice, and sandwiches made with whole
grain breads. Ask to have your salad dressings and sauces
on the side. Choose non-creamy dressings andsauces. And of course, don’t forget the veggies!We hope these tips will help you make heart
healthy eating part of your lifestyle anddaily routine. If you have any additional questions, please
don’t hesitate to let a member of your healthcare team know that you’d like to speak
with a registered dietitian.