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Heart Health Starts at the Dinner Table

By Sandy Schroeder

If you are worried about your heart and your health, join the crowd. No matter what our weight, age or stress levels, most of us are coming to terms with the issues of heart health and trying to do something about it.

Exercising, eating right, and eliminating stress are real issues for most of us, but cardio researchers go further to remind us just how important a healthy diet can be. Medical research gets specific about the nutrients that work on cholesterol and heart health. They suggest:

  • 10 grams of whole food fiber
  • 3 grams of ALA omega-3 fatty acids
  • 2 grams of plant sterols
  • 5,000 moL antioxidants per day

What to Do Next

Harvard Health weighs in with ways to lower harmful LDL cholesterol with the right food choices.

Put beans on the menu - Choose navy, kidney, green, or white beans and add garbanzos to make a hummus dip. Use black-eyed peas or lentils for a winter soup and make black bean tacos for dinner. You will get long-lasting fiber that keeps you satisfied longer and helps shed weight.

Add oats to breakfast - Hot old-fashioned oats topped with fruit or oat-based cereals like Cheerios deliver 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber to keep you satisfied all morning. Nutritionists recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily.

Healthy oils - When you cook, lower LDL cholesterol with olive oil, sunflower, safflower and canola instead of using butter, shortening or lard. Also eliminate fried fast foods that are loaded with saturated fats.

Enjoy apples, citrus, grapes and strawberries - Serve them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are all loaded with pectin, a soluble fiber that lowers LDL cholesterol.

Include fatty fish - Choose fish over meats a couple times a week to get omega-3 fats that protect the heart by reducing triglycerides and lowering the risk of abnormal heart rhythms

Add 2 ounces of nuts - Choose almonds, walnuts, or peanuts for snacks, or chop them into desserts and salads to reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 5 percent.

Enjoy okra or eggplant -  Create a healthy version of eggplant Parmesan or add okra to your favorite spicy soup recipe. You can also bake a whole eggplant and mix the inner fiber with garlic, salt, green onions and pepper to make a healthy dip.

Make barley soup - Just like oats, barley is a healthy choice to protect the heart. Check Epicurious.com for a nourishing barley soup recipe.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Downers Grove, Ill.

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