Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Heart health and food

My current house fragrance is fresh bread—one of my favorite natural scents. It’s not only that the aroma is so enticing, but it also signifies such a satisfying experience. Beginning with only yeast and water, I feel privileged to participate in this miraculous process of putting together simple ingredients that result in something to good.

I’ve been thinking anew about good, healthy food and how it feeds us during the past week. My nearly 77-year-old father had a minor heart attack that led to quadruple bypass surgery. As the surgeon mended him to extend his life, Mom and I sat in an education session for family members of heart patients.

Not surprisingly, the part of the class that most interested me came from the dietician. Her directives were simple:
1) Avoid trans fats.
2) Use sources of fat that are made of no more than one-third saturated fat.
3) Limit salt intake to no more than 2400 mg daily.
4) Increase fiber in the diet.

It’s all basic, good advice that’s good to review from time-to-time to see how your diet compares. But I wanted to say, “There’s so much more! What about eating fresh food from local sources so you get a high-dose of nutrients and good taste? Can we talk about tasty, natural sources of fiber instead of an over-the-counter meal supplement? Where do we find recipes with all of these items detailed? Yes, I understand how to read the label on a package but isn’t it better to prepare the item from scratch when possible?”

I understand that it’s not possible or even advisable to provide people with all the nutrition information we need in one, 45-minute class. I appreciate the advice she did give. And I think that a 77-year-old man shouldn’t deprive himself of foods he especially likes, even if they don’t fit these guidelines. But anyone who wants more information about how food can help in the fight against coronary artery and heart disease, or any other malady, cannot depend only on one class. Seek out more from reliable sources. Make an appointment to speak further with a dietician or nutritionist. Don’t stop with one, short class because food offers so many possibilities for living vibrantly. You can find some recipes specifically related to heart health from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Warm, whole wheat bread fresh from the oven might be just the right snack to re-energize you after your daily walk. What are you waiting for?

No comments:

Post a Comment