Prominent Cardiologist Gives New Meaning to
"You Are What You Eat"
Keynote Address Delivered to Nation's Dietitians
ANAHEIM -- Who ever coined the term "You Are What You Eat" was very clever, but probably did not realize that so much of what you eat can be a life or death matter. Speaking this week at the annual American Dietetic Association meeting, cardiologist Debra Judelson, M.D. stresses that proper nutrition should be of the highest priority for women to help reduce their risk of heart disease, the number one killer of both women and men.
Unfortunately, with women being the primary family caregiver, they too often do not pay attention to their own diets when it comes to heart health. And many women are not even aware that they are at as great a risk as men for developing heart disease. Since high cholesterol is one key risk factor in the development of heart disease, lowering it can indeed have a dramatic impact. The National Institutes of Health notes that for every 10 percent reduction in total cholesterol, risk for this disease is reduced by 30 percent.
"Taking a look at the foods you eat is like taking a look inside your heart," says Dr. Judelson. Judelson, Internist/Cardiologist with the Cardiovascular Medical Group of Southern California and Medical Director of the Women's Heart Institute in Beverly Hills. She adds that heart disease can start developing in childhood, so it is important to start one's children on a heart-healthy diet early in life, when eating patterns are being formed. Why? The latest research from the American Heart Association shows that ten percent of children have borderline high or high cholesterol levels.
Talking from experience, she finds that making small changes in diet is much more long-lasting than trying to implement a total dietary overhaul all at once. Included in the basic changes she recommends are: choosing lean cuts of meat in place of fatty meats; using low-fat dairy products instead of high fat ones; selecting a trans-fat free soft margarine spread over butter; serving whole grains foods in lieu of those made with refined flour; and consuming lots of fruits and vegetables rather than high-fat snacks. One key goal is to reduce intake of saturated fat and cholesterol to help lower or keep blood cholesterol in check. Over just one week, the soft margarine substitution alone (in place of butter) can cut an entire day's worth of saturated fat.
Ten thousand scientific researchers, dietetics professionals, policy makers, health-care providers and industry leaders are attending the meeting in Anaheim, California.
Dr. Judelson is spreading the word about heart disease prevention as a spokesperson for the Open the Door to a Healthy Heart Campaign. She offers these 5 tips to adopt a more heart-healthy diet without totally altering old habits:
1) Take stock of what's inside your fridge. Separate the better-for-you foods from the rest. Make sure you have low-fat, high-fiber, low-cholesterol choices available.
2) Hide desserts. Stow desserts and other indulgent foods in the crisper so they're out of sight, out of mind. Put fruits and vegetables -- pre-cut for easy snacking -- front and center.
3) Substitute lower-fat foods for higher-fat ones. Some examples include skim milk for whole milk, trans-free soft margarine spread (in tubs, squeeze or spray) for butter, low-fat or fat-free yogurt instead of the full-fat variety, egg whites instead of whole eggs, and lean meats, chicken and fish instead of fattier meats.
4) Prepare foods as "ready to eat" meals when you come home from grocery shopping. Cut up fruits and vegetables and store them in containers so they'll be ready for the next meal or snack.
5) Freeze foods in portion sizes to make healthy eating easier.
More heart-health food tips are available at www.healthyfridge.org.
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