OK, you’ve been told by your family doctor or one of the top cardiologists in Bergen County that you have high blood pressure, or that you are otherwise at high risk of developing heart disease. Among the other lifestyle changes they’ve prescribed for you, like stopping smoking and getting more exercise, these doctors have suggested that it is important for you to start eating a more “heart-healthy diet.”
At this point, many people panic. They envision “heart-healthy” to mean that they can never salt their food again, never eat a juicy Porterhouse steak again, and never drink alcohol again. They’re so afraid of what “heart-healthy” means that they make up imaginary “rules” like this to keep from ever modifying their diets.
It’s all so unnecessary – eating heart-healthy can be a gourmet experience
First, the facts. According to top cardiologists in Bergen County, there are very few foods that you should “never eat again” if you want to eat a diet that is more healthy for your heart. You can still salt your food, but within reason, cutting down on the amount of sodium in your diet. You can still drink alcohol, as long as you do so within reason (a glass or wine or a beer with dinner). And you can still occasionally have that Porterhouse steak; it’s just that you shouldn’t have it every night.
The good part about eating more “heart-healthy” is that you will probably have more variety in the things you eat than you did before. More fresh fruits and vegetables, more fish, more whole grains. You’ll still be able to eat most of the foods you ate before, just in smaller portions, and possibly cooked in ways that don’t douse them in fat and sugar. You’ll still be able to have that “dessert course” you’ve come to look forward to, too, just with smaller portions.
Heart-healthy eating can actually taste good
Talk to your Bergen County heart doctors or do a little searching on the Internet, and you’ll be able to find huge numbers of resources to help you eat a more healthy diet that still tastes great. The American Heart Association has free cookbooks online that provide healthy recipes, many of which probably taste better than the recipes you’ve been using for years.
Even when eating out in restaurants it’s easy to “live well” while following a more heart-healthy diet. Many restaurants now list the calorie counts of their meals, which helps you to limit yourself to the 2,000 calories a day or less that the American Heart Association recommends. They also often put “heart healthy” symbols on their menus, next to dishes that are low in fats, sugars, and salt.
Most of all, be sensible when planning your heart-healthy meals. For example, you may want to have a gooey, sweet custard for dessert but know that yogurt would be better for you. At the same time, you don’t like the somewhat bitter taste of plain yogurt. What to do? Simple – add a bit of sugar or fresh fruit to the yogurt, and you’ve managed to eat more sensibly, and without feeling that you had to eat something you don’t like.
Let us help you with your dietary choices
At Cross County Cardiology, we’ve been working with patients for many years to prevent or treat their heart problems. And we try to eat a pretty heart-healthy diet ourselves. So look upon us as a resource to help you do the same thing. Next time you come in to see us, ask to see the many recipes and dietary plans we have available for you. Talk about your favorite new heart-healthy recipe, and we’ll talk about ours, and we can swap, to both of our benefits.
We are some of the top cardiologists in Bergen County and we really CARE about your heart health; and will aid in any way we can to help you achieve it. That includes helping you to discover the joys of eating more sensibly, with less reliance on fast foods and junk foods with their overload of fats, sugars, and salt. You can eat a lot healthier than that, and the best part is that we think you’ll enjoy the taste more, too. Request an appointment today by calling 201-299-4479 or go online to schedule.