What food is good for the heart and lungs? Is saturated fat bad for your heart?

Your choice of foods is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal to help in your recovery from heart disease and in preventing a future heart attack. A few simple guidelines will make choosing foods that are good for you easy Fortunately it’s getting easier and easier to find healthy foods in many restaurants, cafeterias, and supermarkets. More farmers’ markets have a wide array of fresh, convenient, and appealing vegetables and fruits that make the preparation of the ultimate, healthful meal a joy rather than a chore.
Other heart-healthy lifestyle changes may mean learning new skills. You may need to learn to exercise if you have always been sedentary, and you may have to learn to deal with stress, but you already know what a delight eating can be. What you may need to learn is how to add some new food choices to your diet, and how to make these choices enjoyable. It may seem a lot of trouble to experiment with new foods at this point in your life. But once you’ve changed your eating habits, you will be making your heart healthier and your whole body will feel better.

Will the foods I choose for my heart help prevent other diseases, too?

Recent research shows that the kinds of foods you should eat for heart health are the very foods that may prevent many cancers, the number two killer in Western countries.

Will I have to be on a diet for the rest of my life?

For some of us, the term diet is synonymous with restriction and deprivation; to others it is synonymous with hospitals, illness, boring, bland dishes, and an inquisitive scientist looking over everything you eat. So forget “dieting”! The term diet, in its true sense, is “a way to eat,” not a weight loss regimen.

Choose some great foods that taste good. Forget counting calories and measures of fat! Rather, learn to enjoy the right foods in a new way. Maybe, for a few days or weeks, you’ll have to make a conscious effort to choose healthy foods and eliminate others, but soon you’ll feel free and happy, and your new “diet” will not look like a diet anymore. You’ll wonder how you could possibly have eaten any other way!

Lung-Healthy Diet 

Is there a simple formula for a heart-healthy diet?

Yes, there are three key steps:

• Increase your consumption of plant foods like vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils, seeds and nuts, fresh and dried fruits.

• Eat these foods in forms as unrefined as possible.

• Decrease your consumption of animal products, especially highfat animal products.

It is good to keep things simple, and a good way to start is to make yourself two lists: one of foods to eliminate from or reduce in your diet and one of foods to add or consume in larger amounts. The table below will help you to make the proper choices.

Is it true that fat is bad for me?

Fat is one of the most misunderstood components of foods. It is wrong to say that fat is good or neutral or bad, because fat is not a single chemical entity but rather a mixture of related compounds that can have quite different effects on your health. What is true is that some fats can raise blood cholesterol while others do not raise it. This is especially crucial for someone with heart disease. There is a difference between saturated and unsaturated fats. Every food contains a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fat, but their relative amount varies greatly: some foods are high in saturated fats, others are high in unsaturated fats.

What's the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats?

Most saturated fats raise blood cholesterol or keep it high if it is elevated, while natural unsaturated fats do not raise blood cholesterol and, when replacing saturated fat in the diet, lower it. This has been proven in hundreds of clinical studies. If you are a chocolate lover there is good news for you: the natural saturated fat in chocolate, called stearic acid, does not raise blood cholesterol.

On the other side, one type of unsaturated fat does not lower blood cholesterol: the partially hydrogenated type you find in many processed foods. Here the chemical structure of the fat has been twisted in such a way that it not only does not lower blood cholesterol but sometimes even raises the bad cholesterol and lowers the good cholesterol.


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