Focus on your heart: What’s in Your Pantry, Tahoe? |

Focus on your heart: What’s in Your Pantry, Tahoe?

Is this you? Just back from the doctor with news that your cholesterol levels are climbing too high. Time for action. You canandamp;#8217;t imagine you can eat healthier and have it taste good. Besides, can eating differently really help? You do hate to cook. How much time will it take? What to do?Call for a nutrition checkup with a registered dietitian! Call me, Betsy Taylor, RD at the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance and Cardiac Health specialist. Or visit the weekly Wednesday Cardiac Health Talks at Tahoe Forest Hospital for current updates. Then, purge your pantry! Take the authority as the andamp;#8220;gatekeeperandamp;#8221; of your pantry and restock with these guidelines.Start your day with soluble fiber, found in oats andamp;#8212; steel cut, old fashioned, or oat bran. This water-soluble fiber is a great andamp;#8220;gut glueandamp;#8221; absorbing cholesterol in your intestines, making a soft, gelatinous stool that literally slides on out of your body. Aim for at least 1 cup cooked per day. Try pre-cooked, frozen steel cut oats at Trader Joeandamp;#8217;s for microwave convenience. Studies show that daily oats can lower your andamp;#8220;lousyandamp;#8221; LDL cholesterol by 10-14 percent. Make sure to add 1 cup legumes or beans to your lunch or dinner for a hearty dose of soluble fiber, and an inexpensive protein source.How about lentil stew, or black bean chili? Check out Health Valley soups and Amyandamp;#8217;s Organic soups at your market. Fruits and vegetables, without the skin, are 50 percent soluble fiber. Eat the andamp;#8220;rainbowandamp;#8221; of color for the best nutrient variety. Aim for 2 cups of fruit, and 2-3 cups of vegetables every day. Short on time for food prep? Then buy frozen fruit and vegetables to save time and money. Fresh is best when in season, and local produce beats out organic shipped from foreign countries.Now, read your labels to ID the source of fat. Be a trans-fat detector! Any oil or fat listed with the words, andamp;#8220;partially hydrogenatedandamp;#8221; is a trans-fat. Think box brownie and cake mixes! Trans-fat will cause a double slam to your body raising the andamp;#8220;lousyandamp;#8221; LDL cholesterol and lowering the better andamp;#8220;happyandamp;#8221; HDL cholesterol. Aim for less than 2 grams per 2,000 calories eaten, not much!Next, reduce your saturated fat consumption to less than 15 grams for 2,000 calories consumed. Saturated fats, such as butter, whole fat dairy products, meat fat, etc., raise the andamp;#8220;lousyandamp;#8221; LDL cholesterol. However, just replacing those fats with olive and canola oil is now out of date. Tufts University Health andamp; Nutrition Letter, July 2009 advises using the oil that andamp;#8220;is best for the specific purpose you need it for.andamp;#8221;All liquid oils are a good replacement for solid fats like butter or lard. Remember that the calories are the same, 1 tablespoon equals 120 calories or 1.2 miles of walking! My favorite advice comes from 80 -year-old Phyllis Farr: andamp;#8220;Use just a smidge!andamp;#8221;A common misconception is that fish lowers cholesterol levels. Fish like wild salmon and sardines are recommended at 12 oz. per week to lower triglyceride levels, a separate carrier of fatty acids. The omega-3 fats in fish cause slippery platelets to decrease blood clots, and lower the risk of andamp;#8220;sudden deathandamp;#8221; heart -attacks. Now, revamp your pantry, try some new recipes and drive down your cholesterol. Or just give us a call at 582-3285. Individualized eating plans are our specialty!

Offered by Tahoe Forest Health SystemWednesdays from 9:30-10:30 a.m.Tahoe Forest Hospital, Eskridge Conference Room10121 Pine Ave., TruckeeFeb. 10: The Latest in Heart Health, Dr. Tim Lombard, CardiologistFeb. 17: Mindful Better Eating andamp;#8212; Get to the Weight You Want, Betsy Taylor, RDFeb. 24: The How and Why of More: Fiber, Fish and Soy, Betsy Taylor, RDFor more information please call 582-3285.

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