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Need to improve heart health by lowering cholesterol? Try adding one more fruit or vegetable to your diet every day.
"We will all be creating New Year’s Resolutions, and it is a perfect time to try something new to boost heart health”, said Becky Wozniak, a cardiology nurse practitioner with St. James Healthcare.
“Make it your personal challenge throughout the new year to eat a vegetable or fruit with every meal – or, if you’re not eating fruits and vegetables now, add them to one meal or snack,” Wozniak said. “It’s an inexpensive, fun way to explore new flavors and can help you start a new heart-healthy habit for yourself and your family.”
Nearly 2 in 5 American adults have high cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.
High cholesterol doesn’t come with symptoms, so many people don’t know that their levels are too high. Cholesterol levels are determined by a blood test.
Eating fewer foods with saturated fats and trans fats, as well as eating more foods containing soluble fiber, can help to lower cholesterol levels.
Soluble fiber is found in plant foods and works to clear cholesterol from the body. Soluble fiber cannot be absorbed in the intestine. As a result, it can bind itself to cholesterol in the intestine and remove cholesterol from the body.
Soluble fiber is found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as oatmeal and quinoa, healthy fats such as chia seeds and avocados, and in beans and legumes, such as peas.
Here are some easy ways to add fiber-rich foods to your diet:
· Choose lean meats and low-fat dairy products and eat them in moderation.
· Try making fiber-rich foods the star of one meal a day. This can be done by adding more beans to a chili recipe and using ground turkey instead of ground beef.
· When eating out, eat the vegetables that come with an entrée first.
· Buy one new fruit or vegetable to try each time you visit the grocery store.
More information about nutrition services and healthy eating is available at sjh-mt.org.