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A healthy heart can help fight major diseases

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS -- Feb. 19, 2008 -- Eating right is an ingredient to a healthy lifestyle – a lifestyle that can help reduce cancer.

What foods should you strive to get into your diet?

 

Anna Zufall, a registered dietitian with the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, recommends food choices that are good for the heart.

“A healthy heart is important for maintaining your well-being and helping recovery and healing during times of illness,” Anna Zufall, a registered dietitian with the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, said.

Zufall offers these tips for helping people make the right food choices:

  • Go green once a day. Have a green leafy salad at least once a day. Leaf lettuces and spinach are much more nutritious than iceberg lettuce. Use oily dressings sparingly on the salads or try nonfat dressings.
  • Eat fish. There is a direct link between the prevention of hardening of the arteries and eating oily fish (mackerel, herring, pilchard, sardines or trout).
  • Kiwi is the most nutritionally dense fruit. It scores high for Vitamin C and E, magnesium, potassium, fiber, serotonin (controls wake-sleep cycle), arginine (an amino acid) and nutrients recommended to combat cancer and heart disease.
  • Cut down on cholesterol. Limit your consumption of eggs to four a week. While whites are low in cholesterol, egg yolks are not.
  • Avoid tastes you love that don’t love you. Limit dining at fast-food restaurants. Avoid bacon, sour cream, mayonnaise and fatty salad dressings. Order broiled instead of fried items. Remove the skin from poultry. Limit fat, cholesterol, sugar, alcohol, salt, and caffeine in your diet. Avoid pre-prepared foods as much as possible.
  • Consider supplements if your diet seems inadequate. Vitamins are important nutrients to help the brain, nerves, muscles, skin, and bones to function properly. Minerals are necessary in very small amounts. Both are found in many foods, especially milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables, fish, meat, and poultry.

In addition to eating right, Zufall also points out that exercising and reducing stress are two other ingredients to combating major diseases.

“A healthy heart is the result of good genes, the right food choices, plenty of physical activity and knowing how to deal with stress,” said Zufall. “While you can’t do much about your genes, taking time for regular physical activity, making the right food choices and dealing with stress are lifestyle behaviors you can control.”