Cardiologist, author, and heart health expert Dr. Sarah Samaan offers advice on how to live a heart smart life.See all posts »
Best Practices for a Healthy Heart Step Two: Eat Well to Live Better
My new book, Best Practices for a Healthy Heart: How to Stop Heart Disease Before or After it Starts, will be released in May by The Experiment publishing house. In the book, I outline seven important steps that will help you to achieve optimum heart health and provide you with powerful protection against stroke, dementia, and even cancer.
Last month I introduced you to Step One: Know Your Numbers. Knowing your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and body mass index will help you understand some of the important risk factors you may carry for heart disease and stroke. In Step Two: Eat Well to Live Better, I explain how the foods you choose can have a profound impact on your “numbers” and your overall health and wellbeing.
In this section, I tackle the important distinctions between “good” and “bad” carbohydrates. Thanks to a tidal wave of popular low-carb diets, many people assume that all carbs are unhealthy. Yet whole grains, fruits and vegetables are critical for heart and vascular health, and may help to protect against a variety of cancers as well. I’ll explain how to make the smartest choices, and how to avoid being misled by product labeling.
Fats are another source of nutritional confusion. Although many doctors continue to advocate a low-fat diet, this advice is more than a decade out of date. There are certain forms of fat, including omega-3 and omega-9, which actually support heart health, strengthen immunity, and maintain normal function of the nervous system.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I am a huge fan of the Mediterranean diet. In the book, I’ll show you how this diet stacks up against a variety of low-fat and low-carb diets. I’ll also explore the often-overlooked Japanese diet and give you pointers for optimizing a vegetarian diet.
The section also includes a chapter on the Wonder Foods and the Evil Doers. Learn the truth about chocolate, eggs, salt, nuts, fish, and a variety of other foods that can impact your health in important but sometimes surprising ways.
The last chapter in this section is titled “The Big Fake-Out: The Skinny on Sweeteners and Other Food Fakes.” I’ll tell you all about the artificial ingredients that have become commonplace in our diet, and how consuming these products may in fact harm our health while doing nothing to help us lose weight.