Heart Disease Diet
Initiatives include increasing the intake of whole foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole unrefined grains, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.
Only 8 percent of Americans meet the governmental nutritional standard of at least two fruit and three vegetable servings daily.
Increasing fiber to a reasonable level of 15 grams per day requires most Americans to double or triple their intake.
Fiber is found in the same whole foods. While increased fiber intake decreases both bad and good cholesterol, its effect on good cholesterol is much less. Consumption of more fish and fish oils increases omega 3 essential fatty acid intake.
Men eating at least an ounce of fish daily were found to have a 20-year mortality 50 percent lower than that of non fish eaters. If two to three fish servings per week is not feasible, omega 3 oils can be obtained from fish oil capsules in doses of two grams twice a day.
Flaxseed oil, two to three teaspoons daily, supplies large amounts of omega 3 oils as well. Garlic and onions contain active ingredients that tend to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk of certain
Alfalfa has been demonstrated in animal studies to regress atherosclerotic plaques and help restore normal structure within arterial walls. If your body stores of the carotenoid lycopene are at highest levels, your risk of heart attack is reduced 50 percent compared to people with low levels.
Food sources are watermelon, guava, pink grapefruit, tomatoes, tomato juice, catsup, and dried apricots. Reduction of saturated and unsaturated hydrogenated fats (meats, whole milk products, margarines), refined (white) flour products, sugar, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol is also high priority.
Oxidized fats those that are becoming rancid and prerancid are to be avoided as much as possible. While many authorities have recommended reduction of high cholesterol foods such as egg yolks, the evidence for any benefit is marginal. Unless your family has a high genetic predisposition, reasonable egg consumption is not an issue.
Sugar is a more important factor than many authorities believe. Substituting sugar for starch in the diet significantly raises triglycerides and reduces good cholesterol; and sugar intake in the United States has been rising steadily for 50 years.