Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Understanding the physiology of nutrition and effects of your behaviors could save a life. Your diet and consumption play a direct role in your overall health and mental state. Speaking to a registered dietitian will help you figure out a safe and healthy diet.

The most common type of heart disease in this country is Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). CAD develops due to a buildup of plaque in the walls of the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply blood to the heart and other areas as well). Some of this plaque is made up of deposits of cholesterol. As a result of this buildup of plaque inside the arteries, these arteries tend to narrow over time, which can partly or completely block the flow of blood – also known as atherosclerosis.

Hypercholesterolemia and hyperlipidemia are two risk factors of heart disease. Hyperlipidemia is defined as your blood having too many lipids – examples of lipids (also known as fats) include cholesterol and triglycerides.
Hypercholesterolemia is defined as having too much bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood. Not enough good cholesterol (HDL) to remove your cholesterol from your arteries can also increase your risk of a blockage due to the fatty deposits left in your arteries.

So how do you prevent hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia through diet?

  • Limit saturated fat intake to <14 g/day
    • Foods high in saturated fat include: fried foods, butter, high fat dairy products (i.e., whole milk, cheese – stick to low-fat cheese), bacon, sausage, red meat
    • When looking at a nutrition label, you want the saturated fat content to be as close to 0 as possible
    • Limit trans fat intake– found in margarine, fried foods, packaged foods, foods with hydrogenated oil under the ingredient list
  • Increase your intake of heart healthy fats (omega 3 fatty acids)
    • Salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, avocado are some examples of healthy fats
  • Limit the fat you eat to 25-35% of total calories you eat
  • Aim for 20-30 g of dietary fiber daily
  • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are some sources of fiber
  • Get in 30 minutes of exercise daily
  • Limit cholesterol in your diet
    • Foods high in cholesterol include egg yolks (one egg yolk has about 212 mg of cholesterol), fatty meat, whole milk, cheese, shrimp, lobster, and crab.
      • Limit egg intake to one per day
      • Limit shrimp intake to 3 oz. as a 3 oz. serving of shrimp is equivalent to one egg
      • For those who do not have high cholesterol, 2 eggs per day is acceptable

Nutritional Counseling

Behavioral Nutrition specializes in providing support for patients who need help eating healthier to prevent more serious issues like heart disease. We understand that there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to dieting and nutrition. Everyone has different preferences and unique tastes so our Nutritionists work hard to create a nutrition plan that works for each of our patients. We take a holistic approach to find sustainable solutions that give our patients the tools they need to eat healthy and stay active so they can stay healthy. Contact us to learn more about how our Behavioral Therapy Services can help you improve your diet for a healthier lifestyle.