Many people know that a high-fat, high cholesterol diet increases the chances of having a heart attack, stroke or some form of cancer, but many favorite foods are high in fat and cholesterol. How can you protect yourself from heart disease and still enjoy food?
First, you need to know how much is enough. Dr. Latha Arla, internal medicine physician at Silver Cross Hospital, recommends that you limit your cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams per day and total fat to less than 30 percent of the day’s calories, including no more than 10 percent calories from saturated fat sources.
“All cholesterol and most saturated fats are found in animal foods, so that’s a good place to begin,” says Dr. Arla.
People can improve their diets without radical shifts in their eating habits simply by cutting back on the amount of meat, eggs and dairy products they eat and by eating more fruits, grains, vegetables and legumes, such as dried peas, beans and lentils.
Dr. Arla says it’s important to check food labels for the saturated fat content, even if a label says low cholesterol, and to avoid foods with hydrogenated oils or with tropical oils, such as palm oil.
You can also reduce dietary fat in specific ways, including the following:
· Add less or no butter, margarine, dressings or sauces to food at the table.
· Cook with less fat, whether oil, shortening, butter or margarine, or no fat at all, either by using a nonstick pan or microwaving, baking, broiling or poaching.
· Substitute low-fat or nonfat snacks for high fat snacks
· Purchase low-fat or nonfat versions of favorite foods.
· Order low-fat meals in restaurants.
“Remember, it’s important to be patient during periods of transition. Old habits die hard, and the best way to switch to a heart-healthy diet is to make the new food as appealing and enjoyable as possible,” she adds.
To encourage heart-healthy eating habits, Dr. Arla is giving away a lunch container to hold fresh fruits and vegetables to new patients. To schedule an appointment, call (815) 727-4292. Her office is located with Sanitas Medical Group on the Silver Cross Hospital campus, Pavilion A, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. Dr. Arla earned her medical degree from Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed a general medicine residency at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey where she was recognized as Intern of the Year in 2001. She has a special interest in diabetes management and care of women’s health issues and has received numerous awards for patient satisfaction including Professional Research Consultants Five Star Award and 2010 Top Scoring Physician Award for Overall Quality of Doctor Care.
About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for seven consecutive years and as a Hospital of Choice by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 3,500 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a new 289-bed acute care hospital at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox and 5 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325). Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.