Foods for Ailments: A Doctor's Shopping List

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Eating for a healthy heart

The expert: Cardiologist Sharonne Hayes, M.D., has a 6-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. Hayes and her husband, also a cardiologist, stopped eating meat seven or eight years ago (their children still eat it occasionally); they eat seafood once or twice a month.

A few of the things in her shopping cart:

  • Avocados: "Relatively high in calories, but loaded with the 'good' fat -- monosaturated -- which lowers cholesterol."
  • Walnuts: "There is some evidence that nuts lower risk of heart disease."
  • Basmati rice: "More fiber than regular white rice."
  • Frozen vegetable burgers: "Convenient and good for you."
  • Romaine: "When it comes to lettuce the rule is, the darker the leaf, the more vitamins it has."

A motivated shopper: "My father had his first heart attack at forty-nine. If you have that kind of family history, you need to do virtually everything else right, and that includes eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day."

Must-have food: "Lentils, and legumes in general, are high in protein and fiber, and fat free. Plus, they're versatile and taste great."

Quality over quantity: "I like cheesecake, but I'm picky about it. If I'm going to eat it, I'm going to have the best cheesecake in the world. That way, a tiny slice satisfies me."

Kid stuff: "Right now, my daughter would rather have an artichoke than a hamburger. I know that when she gets a little older, she's going to make some unhealthy choices. But I hope that after a few years of eating badly, she'll go back to wanting healthy foods."

Bone booster: "Three or four years ago, I started thinking more about calcium. My family drinks a lot of milk, but I don't. Instead, I drink orange juice with added calcium, eat yogurt once in a while and take calcium supplements."

Fat facts: "It's important to minimize fat intake for heart health and weight control. When you do choose a fat, get the least saturated option, which is better for your heart. The more solid it is at room temperature, the more saturated it is. For example, soft margarine in a tub is lower in saturated fat than stick margarine."

Bottom line: "I tell my patients that you don't have to give up everything you love. It's not about shunning foods that are bad for you. It's about choosing foods that are going to improve your health."

Continued on page 4:  Heading off hypertension

 

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