Healthy, heart-smart eating can take many forms

By: Sanford Health News .

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Heart-healthy eating is something a good deal of the population strives to do, without knowing what it entails. And its exact definition is hard to pin down, but in general the practice calls for a total intake of no more than 2,000 calories a day with half of all meal components fruits and vegetables and one-quarter made up of whole grains like brown rice, oats and whole wheat. The final quarter is generally protein, including nuts, beans, skinless chicken or lean beef.


Though experts agree it’s important to teach young children healthy eating habits, it’s advisable not to go too low-fat, too young. Children under the age of 2 need a good deal of fat for healthy, normal growth.

People trying to reduce fat intake can be confused by the different types of fat. Both saturated and unsaturated fat are found in food. They can be identified by their states at room temperature. Generally, saturated fat is in solid form at room temperature, while unsaturated fat is liquid.

Foods associated with saturated fat include dairy products and fatty meats. This fat may increase the body’s total blood cholesterol level more than other types. When eaten in moderate amounts, on the other hand, unsaturated fat is not associated with elevated cholesterol levels. Examples of foods high in unsaturated fat include corn as well as olive, vegetable, canola, safflower and sunflower oils.


The notion of reducing cholesterol through reducing fat intake brings up another often-misunderstood concept: what cholesterol is and why it’s important? The answer to the first question is that cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the body and found in some foods. It can cause damage as it builds up in the blood vessels. Its importance as it relates to food is not as cut and dried. For a long time it has been recommended to limit cholesterol intake from foods. Recent evidence, however, indicates the food cholesterol may not raise overall blood cholesterol levels as much as previously believed.

Posted In Health, Healthy Living, Heart