Heart-Healty Living – Part 3

Did you know that you can reduce your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level by 10% to 20% just by giving your diet a heart-healthy makeover?

There’s no need to give up taste to eat healthy; it’s just a matter of stocking up on your favourite fruits, vegetables, and other high-fibre foods and preparing them wisely. Here are some tips that can help.

    • Replace unhealthy saturated fats and trans fats with canola oil, olive oil, or spreads made with plant sterols.
    • Start your day with a high-fibre breakfast cereal. Oatmeal is an excellent choice—many health experts call oatmeal a cholesterol-lowering “superfood.”
    • Instead of using whole eggs, try cooking with just egg whites or using a cholesterol-free egg substitute.
    • Rather than cream sauces, have your pasta with tomato sauce or top it with lightly stir-fried vegetables.
  • Season your foods with herbs and spices instead of butter, cream, or sour cream.

Coffee: Health Food?

Drinking caffeinated coffee may reduce the risk of stroke in some women. This was the surprising finding from the Nurses’ Health Study, which included data on over 83,000 women.

Women who drank two to three cups of coffee daily had a 19% lower risk of having a stroke than women who had less than one cup of coffee a month. Those who drank four or more cups daily had a 20% reduced risk. Women who had never smoked or who had quit smoking and drank four or more cups daily had a 43% reduction in stroke risk. Unfortunately, coffee consumption was not able to overcome the detrimental effects of smoking, and current smokers experienced no risk reduction from drinking coffee.

Drinking at least two cups of decaffeinated coffee a day showed a slight decrease in risk, but consuming tea or caffeinated soft drinks did not, leading researchers to believe it is a component in the coffee other than caffeine that is responsible for the beneficial effect.

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