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Live a Longer Healthier Life

Are you looking to live longer and improve your quality of life?  Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States so by decreasing your risk you can increase your chances of living a longer healthier life.  The good news is YOU CAN DO THIS by making lifestyle changes (increasing exercise, improving nutrition, reducing stress, not smoking, etc.). Here are a few simple ways you can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease by improving your nutrition:

  • Increase your intake of fiber-rich foods.  Eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables each day, choose half of your grains as whole grain, and choose beans and lentils a few times per week.  When choosing a whole grain cereal, consider choosing oatmeal or Cheerios for the cholesterol-lower benefit of soluble fiber.
  • Increase your intake of plant stanols and sterols.  Plant stanols and sterols may help lower blood cholesterol by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines.  Small amounts of plant stanols and sterols are founds in plant foods, but to have a cholesterol-lowering effect foods fortified with higher amounts may need to be consumed.  Some brands of fruit juice, cereal, bread, low fat milk, low fat yogurt, and margarine (Benecol and Take Control) have been fortified with plant stanols and sterols.
  • Choose lean meats such as skinless turkey and chicken, top sirloin, 7% fat ground beef, round steak, pork loin or loin chops and trim fat from meats.
  • Eat smaller portions of meats.  Limit your portions to 3 ounces for lunch or dinner.  Three ounces is equal to the size of a deck of cards.
  • Choose fatty, cold water fish (mackerel, herring, salmon, halibut or tuna) two times per week for heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.  If you don’t like fish, you can find omega-3’s in canola oil, flaxseed, walnuts, leafy green vegetables, or enriched eggs or bread.
  • Eat a meatless meal for lunch or dinner at least 1-2 times per week.  Try pasta primavera or beans and rice.
  • Limit egg yolks to 4 per week or have egg whites or egg substitutes (e.g. Egg Beaters).
  • Select non fat or low fat dairy foods such as non fat or 1% milk and non fat or low fat cheese, yogurt, or cottage cheese.
  • Choose fat free or low fat condiments or use less of the regular version (salad dressing, mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, etc.).
  • Choose olive oil or canola oil and use it in small amounts.  Use tub or spray margarine and avoid stick margarine or butter.
  • Choose a low fat cooking method. Bake, broil, steam, barbecue and grill foods instead of frying.  Use cooking spray instead of greasing the pan.
  • Modify recipes to reduce fat intake.  You can substitute 2 egg whites for 1 egg in most recipes.  If you are making baked goods, replace 1/3 of the fat in the recipe with applesauce.  If you are making 3-cheese lasagna, substitute one or two cheese with reduced fat versions.

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