For at least six decades, dietary guidelines have stressed the importance of a low-fat diet for heart health. Recent studies have determined that saturated fat may have less to do with your health than you believe. In fact, saturated fat intake did not account for an increase or decrease in heart-related issues, but did lower cholesterol. The reason? Most people substitute the saturated fat for carbohydrates (think eating a bagel instead of a side of bacon), and carbohydrates increase triglyceride levels and decrease HDL (“good cholesterol”) levels. The change in these levels increases risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic anomalies, such as diabetes and heart disease. Before you reach for a cheeseburger, though, read the below information Medicomp has uncovered, and if you are already experiencing heart-related issues, you may benefit from the diagnostics a Medicomp portable cardiac monitor can deliver.
- Eat more whole foods – Fast foods and packaged snacks are more to blame for weight gain, cardiovascular condition, and overall poor health than any other factor. Eat more fresh fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and beans. These foods are naturally low in saturated fats.
- Watch your dietary intake – While saturated fats are not the main culprit of the American diet, it does not mean you should eat steak in abundance. Given a choice between a plant-based or animal-based fat, choose the plant-based. Beans and lentils are always a healthier protein source than red meat.
- Whole foods do not necessarily correlate with “healthy” – Fresh-churned Jersey butter is still butter, no matter how you slice it. Eating twice as much simply because it is “natural” will not improve your health.
- Trans fats are never a good choice – Most people now recognize the importance of a diet containing low or no trans fats. Manufacturers understand this and now label trans fats as “partially hydrogenated oils.” If either partially-hydrogenated oil or trans fat is on the ingredients list, avoid the food or eat in strict moderation.
- Read the label – Products labeled “no saturated fats” have to find something to replace the taste those saturated fats give our taste buds. Usually, the taste of saturated fats is replaced by sodium, sugar, and refined flour. None of these should be abundant on your grocery list.
- The truth about carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are essential for good health. Every cell in your body is composed of a carbohydrate cell membrane. Cutting carbs drastically will eventually cause your body to use protein as a source of energy, which is bad for muscles and organs. Instead of cutting carbs, watch your intake. Eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which are carbohydrate-based plant foods.
- Dark chocolate, anyone? – The flavonoids in dark chocolate are antioxidants, which protect cells from damaging chemical reactions. And the saturated fat in an ounce of dark chocolate will not harm your health.
Keep your body and heart healthy with these dietary hints and others in our past blogs, and give the medical staff at Medicomp a call at (800) 23-HEART (234-3278) if you are considering a portable cardiac monitor.