“What diet do you follow?” is a question I’m often asked when writing about cardiovascular disease. So I was interested to read a report from The Mayo Clinic recommending ways to have a heart-healthy diet. How did mine stack up?
Sometimes I threaten the waiter!
I couldn’t agree more with Mayo’s. For years I’ve stressed that calories do count and the larger the portion on the plate the greater the number of calories. But our eyes are often larger than our stomachs and we ignore portion size. Moreover, in some restaurants the only way to obtain a small portion is to threaten the waiter! Remember, you can have the most nutritious heart healthy meal available on the plate, but if it’s a large portion you still get a ton of calories which means weight gain, increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. And people with diabetes have a 50-percent chance of dying from heart attack. Not exactly a heart healthy diet.
To avoid this error, use a small plate and learn more about serving size. For instance, one serving size of pasta is one-half a cup about the size of a hockey puck. A serving of three ounces of meat or chicken is the size and thickness of a pack of cards. Serving size is as vital as the size of the plate.
Consume More Fruits and Vegetables.
This is always a sound move as they’re a good source of minerals and vitamins. They’re low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. The average North American eats 15 grams of fiber daily but it should be 35 grams. Fiber has “filling volume”, which means it fills the stomach and sends a message to the brain to stop eating. Eat one apple full of fiber and you rarely need a second one. A can of soda has little filling volume. In addition to being heart healthy, fiber is a prime way to fight obesity. It also makes stools soft as toothpaste and fights constipation.
Increase the Consumption of Whole Grain.
Whole grains are also a great source of fiber and according to The Mayo Clinic they also help to regulate blood pressure. So choose whole wheat flour, 100 percent whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, a high fiber cereal that contains at least 10 grams of fiber. I start every morning with a bowl full of Fiber One or Fiber First along with a banana or some other fruit to make fiber more palatable.
Limit Unhealthy Fats.
Use olive and canola oil along with the polyunsaturated fats found in fish, nuts and seeds. Mayo experts also suggest margarine. I hate to disagree, as they may be right, but I use butter. Why? I trust the farmers more than I trust manufactured foods.
Choose Low Fat Protein Sources.
This means lean meat, fish, poultry, low fat dairy products and eggs which are prime sources of protein. So I also use skim milk and eat skinless chicken breasts. And don’t forget that omega 3 fats in fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring are heart- healthy.
Decrease Sodium Intake
The Mayo Clinic states that increased amounts of sodium are related to high blood pressure which is not health friendly. It recommends that adults should not have more than 2,300 milligrams daily.
Have an Occasional Treat.
I too follow this advice. I like French fries, ice cream and cookies. But like Mayo, I only do it now and then.
Any Problem With Mayo’s Advice?
The Mayo clinic makes no mention that to have a heart-healthy diet you need high doses of vitamin C and lysine. This combination in powder or pill form prevents and reverses hardening of arteries, a major cause of heart attack. You can see photos on my web site which show the dramatic changes in arteries after taking C and lysine. You can check on the various brands containing C and lysine at your local Health Food Store. It is tragic that the medical establishment is ignoring this research which could save thousands of lives. History shows it’s not the first time this has happened.