Healthwatch: Eating Right

Do you want to eat "heart healthy", but you just don't know how? Although it might take a little extra time health care officials say this can be done.

Once you're in the grocery store, you should first target foods that are high in fiber such as cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables.

"We know that a diet high in fiber can reduce your risk of heart attack by 40 percent," said Rhonda Carney, a registered dietician at Rush Foundation Hospital.

Beans of almost any type are one of the best "fiber foods". In fact, experts say just one cup can of beans supplies almost half of the daily fiber required for adults.

When it comes to seasoning foods, Carney says healthy oils, not fatty meat, is the only way, canola, peanut and olive oil, which is the best.

"It's very high in mono-unsaturated fats. Again, that's the fat that will help lower the bad cholesterol, but it also will not lower your good cholesterol level," Carney said.

Carney says when choosing a butter or margarine, always choose the ones which contain mono-unsaturated fats and plant sterols.

"And we know that plant sterols can lower your bad cholesterol just as much as the medicine doctors prescribe," said Carney.

Even so, Carney says patients are advised to not stop taking prescribed medication.

Although low-carb diets are popular, Carney says there's something you should remember when it comes to eating large amounts of bacon, steaks, sausage, ribs and eggs.

"These are meats that are very high in saturated fats and cholesterol and that will exacerbate your risk of heart disease," Carney said.

Here's one more piece of food for thought, always remember to read labels.

Read more Healthwatch articles here.

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