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Healthy Heart Eating Tips for American Heart Month

Armen Hareyan's picture

In honor of American Heart Month (February), ChicagoHealers.com practitioner Dr. Tom Bayne, DC offers some insights into heart disease and cholesterol along with tips for heart healthy eating. Here are some facts about heart disease and cholesterol that many people are shocked to find out.

Cholesterol is not a deadly poison, but a substance that you need to be healthy. High cholesterol itself does not cause heart disease. The cholesterol found in your blood comes from two sources: cholesterol in food that you eat and cholesterol that your liver makes from other nutrients.

The amount of cholesterol that your liver produces varies according to how much cholesterol you eat. If you eat a lot of cholesterol, your liver produces less. If you don't eat much cholesterol, your liver produces more. LDL and HDL are not types of cholesterol, they are lipoproteins that transport through your blood circulatory system.

HDL is often mistakenly referred to as good cholesterol because it carries cholesterol away from your arteries (to your liver). LDL and HDL actually do the same thing they transport cholesterol.

Therefore, while it's true that a high HDL/total cholesterol ratio can reflect a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, what's most important when it comes to cholesterol and your health is to avoid eating animal foods that have been cooked at high temperatures, since these foods are typically rich in damaging cholesterol.

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What should one eat for good heart health?

1. Consume large quantities of nutrient-dense plant foods (vegetables and fruits.) Eat small amounts of seeds, nuts, and sprouted grains.

2. Don't forget your heart healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, olives, coconuts, organic eggs, and wild caught fish.

3. Minimize intake of animal foods that have been highly processed and/or exposed to high cooking temperatures.

4. Strive to live a balanced life that includes adequate water consumption, rest, and physical activity. Get plenty of fresh air and sunlight.

Written by Dr. Hayne.