Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Are You Eating A Heart-Healthy Diet ?

Many of us think we eat a heart-healthy diet - but upon further examination, much of what Americans have been taught about what is supposedly heart healthy is based on sloppy science (at best). Here are some pearls of wisdom from cardiologist Dr. William Davis.

--If it requires a label or nutritional analysis, reject it. The wondrous green pepper, or bottle of olive oil, for instance, require no such qualifications. Some exceptions: milk, yogurt, cottage cheese (unless, of course, you purchase straight from a local producer). I am always impressed with the contortions and frustrations people experience trying to decipher labels. Ironically, the healthiest foods don’t even require labels.

--If it is ingested in a rush, it’s likely to add to poor health. True food is meant to be consumed at leisure, not in haste to satisfy some irrational, unthinking impulse.

--Search for natural, whole foods. Natural, whole foods require no marketing. You pay a premium for a company to adorn a product with glitz, glamour, and appeal. Repackage Cocoa Puffs as chocolate flavored, round overly-processed wheat flour, sans marketing spin, and what is left? Processed foods areintentionallyaddictive. They are added to, modified, high-fructose corn syruped, etc. to increase desirability, but also create addiction. Eliminate them just as a smoker eliminates cigarettes.

--A corollary to the above issue: purchase foods that appear as if you had grown it or raised it yourself. If you were to grow corn in your backyard garden, you would eat it on the cob or some similar way. You would not grind it, pulverize, process it, nor serve it as cornstarch and add to a pile of chemicals to make breakfast cereal. Eat foods in their natural state, not the highly processed food-product that requires a colorful package and advertising to sell.

--Don’t keep bags of chips, boxes of breakfast cereal and crackers, frozen dinners, all “just in case.” Don’t allow yourself that opportunity because you will more than likely seize it. An alcoholic who keeps a secret bottle of gin hidden in the cabinet is well aware that it’s there and will eventually give in to impulse.

--When you eat meat, try to find free-range, organic products. Even better, purchase from a local producer who you trust.

--For anyone with patterns like low HDL, small LDL, high triglycerides, and blood sugar >100 mg/dl, following a diet that is as free of wheat products as possible will yield enormous benefits. Wheat is a part of all breads, virtually all breakfast cereals, pretzels, crackers, bagels, cookies, cupcakes, pancakes, waffles, etc. Going wheat-free is also a surprisingly effective weight loss strategy.

Dr. Davis believes in restricting carbohydrates not only for weight loss, but as a means to better heart health. His blog is always a great read for anyone interested in keeping their heart healthy! (http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/)