By GARY WOONTEILER, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Correspondent
Elisabeth Moore, RD, LDN, author of the Hungry Heart Cookbook is a registered dietitian at BIDMC. She provides medical nutrition therapy for patients with cardiovascular and other diseases.
Below, Moore answers patients’ questions about nutrition and cardiovascular health.
Why does what you eat matter so much in terms of cardiovascular health?
Moore: There are many nutritional factors to consider when it comes to choosing healthy meals, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and your past medical history. Many foods can have a negative effect on these factors, so it is important to incorporate heart-healthy foods into your diet to help keep your body in balance.
What are the main principles of heart-healthy eating?
Moore: Here are some keys to creating a heart-healthy food plan:
Increase your intake of “good,” or unsaturated, fats (such as nuts and vegetable oils).
Limit your intake of saturated fats (such as red meats, cheese and butter).
Avoid trans fats altogether (such as partially hydrogenated oils).
It’s also important to keep an eye on cholesterol levels and major sources of sodium while incorporating foods that are rich in dietary fiber, such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
How well do people adhere to a heart-healthy diet?
Moore: It can be tough to break old habits at first, but once you have a few generally healthy ideas, you can take small steps to gradually make your meals more heart-healthy. For example, replacing red meats with fish dishes such as haddock or tuna. It also helps to get some extra motivation from your friends, family or your doctor.
How do you make foods heart-healthy without sacrificing taste?
Moore: I grew up in a Sicilian household, so I know how important it is for food to not only be good for you, but to taste delicious as well. I recommend reducing the amount of added salt and utilizing other spices, such as oregano, rosemary and ginger. You can also explore different methods of cooking to produce healthier results. For example, try oven-baking meats instead of frying them in oil.
Do you have any additional advice for using your cookbook?
Moore: Start small by using ingredients you’re already familiar with, and then slowly start to move out of your comfort zone by experimenting with new flavors and cooking styles.
What are some of your favorite recipes from your cookbook?
Moore: My Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili is the perfect remedy for those cold winter days. Also, the desserts are incredible — mint chocolate meringues, cherry chocolate tiramisu and banana ice cream!
Download your free copy of the Hungry Heart Cookbook at bidmc.org/cookbook.
Above content provided by the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
Posted March 2015