- 5 Heart-Healthy Food Swaps
- 1. Choose nuts over chips
- 2. Reach for coffee or tea, not soda
- 3. Switch from baked goods to dark chocolate
- 4. Broil or grill salmon instead of steak
- 5. Ditch white side dishes in favor of green ones
- Spicy Broiled Salmon
- A Heart-Healthy Eating Adventure
- Ethiopian/Moroccan/North African
- Heart-Healthy Eating on a Budget
- Skip processed foods in boxes and bags
- Be aisle-smart
- Pick what’s in season
- Consider canned or frozen produce and beans
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry
- Cook more meals at home
- ABCs of Eating Smart for a Healthy Heart
- A. Avoid unhealthy fats, and choose healthy fats
- B. Buy beans, fish and other lean proteins
- C. Choose carbs carefully
- D. Drink with deliberation
- E. Eat a wide-variety of foods—especially from plants
- F. Limit your sodium
- G. Get your exercise
- Calcium supplements may not be good for your heart, researchers say
- Area restaurants aim to make healthy eating easier
- The DASH diet is the best way to eat for preventing heart disease
5 Heart-Healthy Food Swaps
Linkedin Pinterest Heart Health Recipes for Heart Health Heart-Smart Eating Low-Sodium Recipes
When it comes to your heart health, it’s the little, everyday choices you make that can have the biggest impact on your future well-being.
Along with exercising consistently and avoiding smoking, your diet is an important way you can control what your life looks decades from now.
That’s why it’s so important — no matter how old you are — to cut back on foods with minimal nutritional value in favor of foods that are good for your heart.
Isatu Isuk, R.D., L.D.N., a dietitian at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, suggests five simple adjustments you can make to help boost your heart health.
1. Choose nuts over chips
Sometimes your craving for a salty, crunchy snack is too strong to ignore. But that bag of chips is high in sodium and often contains unhealthy fats (saturated fat and trans fat), contributing to the buildup of plaque on the inner walls of your arteries and increasing your risk of coronary heart disease.
Also, refined carbohydrates found in chips can spike your blood sugar. What to do when the urge to snack strikes? Try a handful of nuts instead, and savor every crunch: People who regularly eat nuts are 14 percent less ly to develop cardiovascular disease and 20 percent less ly to develop coronary heart disease.
Nuts contain heart-healthy, unsaturated fats along with fiber and other nutrients, but don’t overdo it.
“Studies suggest that eating nuts may provide protective benefits for the heart, but they are still high in calories,” says Isuk. “Just make sure you eat a small portion (about 1 ounce) and don’t mindlessly munch.”
2. Reach for coffee or tea, not soda
If you’re looking for the energy boost that a caffeinated beverage brings, brew a cup of coffee or some green or black tea. They’re more beneficial than soda because they are naturally sugar-free and have heart-healthy antioxidants such as chlorogenic acids, which protect against cell damage that contributes to heart disease.
Research indicates that coffee and tea are rich in antioxidants that are good for your heart, possibly reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering cholesterol levels.
For this, and other health reasons, the right amount of coffee or tea can be good for you (typically, up to two or three cups a day), but watch the cream and sugar, cautions Isuk.
And, if you’re pregnant or have other health conditions, check with your doctor about what amount of caffeine is safe for you.
3. Switch from baked goods to dark chocolate
Sweet treats such as cookies, cakes and pastries get their delicious flavor from a host of bad-for-you ingredients sugar and white flour, as well as butter, margarine or hydrogenated oils, which are high in trans fats. To satisfy your sweet tooth, try a piece of dark chocolate instead. “Chocolate and its main ingredient, cocoa, contain flavanols that help lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel function,” Isuk explains.
While dark chocolate still has fat, sugar and high calories, in moderation it’s a healthier dessert than most choices at your local bakery. Research suggests that eating chocolate a few times a week could reduce your risk of experiencing heart attack, stroke or chest pain by 11 percent.
4. Broil or grill salmon instead of steak
During grilling season, steaks, burgers and hot dogs are often the first thing we think of. But those meats are high in saturated fat, which increases low-density lipoproteins (LDL-C), the “bad” cholesterol in the blood. Having high levels of LDL cholesterol is a leading risk factor for heart disease.
The better choice? Grill salmon or albacore tuna — and choose a steak cut for your fish instead of a filet. (It’s a dense, hearty cut that won’t fall apart on the grill.) Both types of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can decrease the amount of fat in your blood and plaque buildup along arteries.
5. Ditch white side dishes in favor of green ones
Potatoes, noodles, rice and bread are typical sides served with meals. But frequently eating these starchy carbohydrates can contribute to high blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar levels also put you at higher risk for heart disease. If you choose to have a starchy side dish, select whole grain pasta, brown rice or wild rice, in small amounts.
You can get just as much — if not more — flavor from a side dish of green veggies. Vegetables such as kale, broccoli, spinach and collard greens are filled with fiber (it keeps you full longer), are low in carbohydrates and supply vitamins K, A and C along with other minerals and nutrients.
Adding green vegetables to your plate can help lower high cholesterol and reduce internal inflammation, two risk factors for heart disease, says Isuk.
By just changing a fraction of the food decisions you make every day, you’ll be on the path to making a positive impact on your heart health. And always be sure to talk to your doctor or a dietitian when you make changes to your diet.
Believe it or not, snacks can be part of a healthy diet. Smart Snacking helps you avoid over-eating later in the day.
Isuk created this salmon dish to satisfy taste buds and heart health.
Spicy Broiled Salmon
- 1 pound cleaned fresh salmon (cut in two pieces)
- ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
- ¼ cup chopped onions
- ½ small fresh habanero pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1.5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Blend red bell pepper, onions, habanero pepper, garlic and ginger to form a paste.
- Add extra virgin olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice and black pepper to the mix and blend.
- Pour mixture over the salmon and coat well on both sides.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- Place salmon skin-side down in a nonstick shallow baking dish.
- Broil for 20 to 30 minutes.
A Heart-Healthy Eating Adventure
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You hear the phrase “Mediterranean diet” a lot when doctors talk aboutheart-healthy eating.
And with good reason: Its hallmarks — healthy fatsand plant foods — have been shown to be very beneficial to heart health.
But there’s a wide world of other international choices out there thatshare these nutrition principles.
Mixing up the types of foods you eat can make your diet more interesting and help you stick longer and more easily to these life-changing principles, says Johns Hopkins registered dietitian Kathleen Johnson, M.A., R.D., L.D.N.
Try some of the following tasty, good-for-you choices that favorite ethnic cuisines have to offer.
A staple of Mexican cooking is the tortilla. Start by choosing organic corn tortillas over wheat for more minerals and fiber. It’s also a smart choice for many people who are looking to lower their fat and sodium intake, Johnson says.
Select fish, chicken or vegetable dishes. Black beans are a great source of protein — pick them over refried beans.
For a topper, try a little guacamole. Avocado is a heart-healthy fat, and cilantro (a common spice in guacamole and Mexican dishes) is surprisingly full of antioxidants, Johnson says.
The abundance of vegetarian options makes it easy for heart-conscious diners to go out for Indian food. The warming spices they feature, such as turmeric and garam masala, are also anti-inflammatory, which is great for the heart.
Among the Indian dishes Johnson suggests:
- lentil dal — lentils are a good source of protein
- chickpea vindaloo
- chana masala (made of chickpeas) and bhindi (okra)
- rajma — it features kidney beans in a thick sauce
- curries, of course — in addition to curries with classic spices, such as turmeric, you can find plenty of vegetarian options made with coconut milk
Fish dishes — hallmarks of the Japanese diet — are an excellent source of important omega-3 fatty acids for your heart. But be aware that Japanese foods can have a lot of sauce. “It’s best to ask for sauce on the side if you can,” Johnson suggests. Also choose brown rice over white for more heart-healthy fiber.
What these cuisines have in common is a lot of vegetable tagines, a type of stew named after the earthenware pot in which it’s cooked. “Ethiopian restaurants are a great place to take kids because they get to eat with their hands,” Johnson notes. Rather than utensils, the food is eaten with a flatbread made of teff flour, which is thought to help with blood-sugar management.
It’s fun to experiment with international cooking right in your ownkitchen. Try looking at different types of ethnic cookbooks, suggests JohnsHopkins dietitian Kathleen Johnson. One of her favorites: Plenty, by Israeli born chef Yotam Ottolenghi, which provides a fresh take onpreparing vegetables
Heart-Healthy Eating on a Budget
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It’s a myth that eating healthy has to cost big bucks.
“You can spend muchthe same as you do now and wind up with a heart-healthier diet,” saysKerry Stewart, Ed.D.,professor of medicine in the cardiology division at Johns Hopkins anddirector of Clinical and Research Physiology.
It comes down to makingsmarter choices. Here are some ideas for eating better without spendingmore.
“From a health perspective certain foods are less desirable than others ata similar price,” Stewart says.
For example, different varieties of milkcost roughly the same, but skim milk and 1 percent milk provide lesssaturated fatthan 2 percent milk or whole milk. The same is true with yogurt.
Someyogurts, although labeled “low fat,” are high in calories and sugar, hesays, so by comparing the Nutrition Facts data on the labels, you can makea healthier choice that’s low in both fat and sugar without spending more.
Skip processed foods in boxes and bags
Whole foods tend to cost less than processed varieties, while sparing youthe added sodium and sugar that can lead to weight gain, diabetes and heartdamage, according to Stewart.
Shop mostly from the outer aisles of your market. That’s where freshfruits, vegetables, dairy, fish and meat tend to be displayed.
In the middle aisles, look for heart-healthy canned tuna, salmon andsardines; frozen unprocessed fish fillets; and dried or canned beans (rinsethem before you cook to lower sodium content).
Add beans to meat dishes soyou won’t need as much meat—this simple step will lower the cost and yoursaturated fat intake.
Look down too: Often the priciest items are shelved at eye level, whilecheaper store brands are placed lower.
Pick what’s in season
When produce is plentiful, it tends to cost less, Stewart says. So corn isa better buy in summer, while apples are a bargain in fall and winter, forexample. The United States Department of Agriculture provides aseason-by-season list of fruits and vegetables.
Consider canned or frozen produce and beans
Stewart says they can pack as many nutrients as fresh produce, and at agood price. Look for “low sodium” or “no salt added” on the label.
Don’t shop when you’re hungry
You’ll be less tempted by junk food and impulse buys— those fragrantbakery items and the handy snacks at the cash register.
Cook more meals at home
Johns Hopkins research shows that people who cook meals at home eathealthier and consume fewer calories than those who cook less often.
What the Experts Do
In your quest to eat healthy foods, it will become clear that organic foodscan cost prohibitively more than nonorganics. If you are able, prioritizeorganic purchases to include those with skin being consumed — for example,spinach, berries and apples, says dietitian Kathleen Johnson. But what’smost important is that you consume lots of fruits and vegetables, period.
Saturated fat: A type of fat found in abundance in butter, whole milk, icecream, full-fat cheese, fatty meats, poultry skin, and palm and coconutoils. Saturated fat raises levels of heart-threatening LDL cholesterol inyour bloodstream. It can also interfere with your body’s ability to absorbblood sugar easily. Limiting saturated fat can help control your risk forheart disease.
ABCs of Eating Smart for a Healthy Heart
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Eating a diet that helps your heart can be boiled down to four words: “Eat a Mediterranean,” says Johns Hopkins dietitian Christie A. Williams,M.S., R.D.N. The Mediterranean diet—so named because it’s similar to thenative diet consumed in places Greece and Italy—is a lowsimple-carbohydrate, healthy-fat, lean-protein way of eating, she says.;
The Mediterranean diet isn’t a strict diet per se—it’s simply guidelines that provide plenty of choices and variety. “It tastes good, helps you feel full without overeating, and you can get these foods in any season no matter where you live,” Williams says.
Here are the ABCs of this heart-healthy eating plan:
A. Avoid unhealthy fats, and choose healthy fats
Unsaturated fats should make up most of your fat intake. These include fatty fish (see B, below, for more about fish), olive oil and other vegetable oils, and nuts, such as walnuts.
Limit saturated fats, which come primarily from animal sources (butter, red meat). Choose lean proteins, chicken without the skin. Opt for 1 percent or skim milk and dairy products, rather than 2 percent or whole milk.
Avoid trans fats altogether. On processed food labels, watch for the words “partially hydrogenated oils” and skip those foods.
B. Buy beans, fish and other lean proteins
Beans of any kind—white beans, black beans, kidney beans and so on—can be served in many ways, from entrées to salad toppers to side dishes, and they provide important fiber as well as protein.
Fatty fish, salmon, trout and tuna, contain good-for-you omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, which help lower triglyceride (a type of fat) levels and may modestly lower blood pressure. “A salmon burger is a great way to add variety to your diet,” Williams suggests.
Limit red meat to lean cuts and serve it in side-dish-sized portions. Lean proteins feed your body without providing unhealthy fats—which means thinking beyond steak.
C. Choose carbs carefully
Carbohydrates are the sugars, fiber and starches in food that give your body energy. But some carbs are better for you than others.
Choose carbs from whole-grain sources (such as oatmeal or whole wheat bread) rather than processed and refined carbs (such as white bread and white rice). Read labels to avoid added sugar, a common source of extra carbs.
Johns Hopkins research has shown that people on low simple-carbohydrate diets lose more weight more quickly, especially dangerous belly fat (a risk factor for heart disease), than those who focus only on restricting fats.
D. Drink with deliberation
“Diet” refers to what you drink as well as what you eat. Many beverages add calories (and extra weight) without much nutritional benefit. Three common culprits:
- Alcohol. The recommended amount of alcohol is one drink per day for a woman, or two drinks for a man.
- Soda pop. A typical 12-ounce can of soda has 150 calories and roughly 9 teaspoons of sugar. The new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (which will be released in March) call for no more than 12 teaspoons of sugar per day from any source.
- Juice and other sugary drinks. There’s much more fiber in whole food than juice. Along with soda, fruit juice and other sugary drinks account for much of the excess sugar Americans consume. “I’d rather see you eat an orange for breakfast than drink orange juice,” Williams says.
E. Eat a wide-variety of foods—especially from plants
A heart-smart diet tends to be a varied one. These standout foods are often under-consumed:
- Dark-green leafy vegetables. Natural sources of fiber and antioxidants, such as spinach, kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, collard greens, arugula and broccoli, also help the body break down homocysteine, an amino acid that’s linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, Williams says.
- Nuts. “Eating just 5 ounces of nuts per week is linked to decreased cardiovascular disease,” Williams says. Walnuts have more omega-3 fatty acids—which reduce bad cholesterol levels—than other nuts.
- Soy. Edamame, a soy dish, is a good substitute for animal protein that also reduces total cholesterol levels. Half a cup of shelled edamame provides 8 grams of protein.
F. Limit your sodium
Keep your sodium intake to 2300 milligrams (mg) per day, or 1 teaspoon of salt per day. You can do this by avoiding canned or processed foods.
G. Get your exercise
Every week, be sure to include 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and two or more days of muscle strength activities.
What the Experts Do
“People want something sweet no matter what their diet,” says Johns Hopkinsdietitian Christie A. Williams, M.S. “Dark chocolate actually hasantioxidants that protect blood vessels, decrease LDL cholesterol and helpblood pressure.”
To get the most benefit, Williams chooses bars whose labels show theycontain at least 70 percent cocoa. “Sometimes I look for darkchocolate-covered walnuts or almonds because nuts are also good for theheart.”
The only catch, she says, is that dark chocolate has to be part of anisocaloric diet—that’s dietitian-speak for eating about the same totalamount of food every day in a healthy amount for your weight and height.
Inother words, she says, you can indulge as long as you don’t overdo. Someresearch on the cardiovascular benefits of dark chocolate puts that limitat 50 grams a day, or just under 2 ounces.
Remember that chocolate hascalories in it.
Calcium supplements may not be good for your heart, researchers say
Taking calcium supplements may be bad news for your heart, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine and elsewhere.
While a calcium-rich diet could actually benefit the heart, the study found that taking calcium in supplement form seems to increase the risk of plaque buildup in arteries and heart damage.
“Patients should really discuss any plan to take calcium supplements with their doctor to sort out a proper dosage or whether they even need them.”
Erin Michos, Hopkins researcher
The researchers published their findings this week in The Journal of the American Heart Association, 10 years of medical research tests. The findings add to growing scientific concerns about the potential harm of supplements.
An estimated 43 percent of American adult men and women take a supplement that includes calcium, according to the National Institutes of Health. And more than half of women over 60 take calcium supplements—many without a doctor's oversight—because they believe it will reduce their risk of osteoporosis.
“Patients should really discuss any plan to take calcium supplements with their doctor to sort out a proper dosage or whether they even need them,” says Erin Michos, associate professor at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
While the scientists saw an association between calcium supplements and atherosclerosis—the hardening and narrowing of the arteries that can cause cardiovascular disease—they note that their research hasn't proven cause and effect.
“It could be that supplements contain calcium salts, or it could be from taking a large dose all at once that the body is unable to process,” says nutritionist John Anderson, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Past studies have shown that calcium supplements can accumulate in the body's soft tissue, rather than making it to the skeleton or being completely excreted in urine. That risk is higher with older people, who also face increased risk of heart attacks as calcium-based plaque builds up in the arteries.
The new research found that calcium supplement users were 22 percent more ly to see their coronary artery calcium scores rise over the 10-year study period. Meanwhile, participants who ingested calcium through their normal diets—even at the highest doses—saw no increased risk of heart disease.
“We can tell our patients that there doesn't seem to be any harm in eating a heart-healthy diet that includes calcium-rich foods, and it may even be beneficial for the heart,” Michos says.
The study focused on over 2,700 participants in a research project funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, who completed dietary questionnaires and two CT scans 10 years apart. The researchers accounted for various demographic and lifestyle factors that could influence the participants' risk of heart disease.
Read more from Hopkins Medicine
Area restaurants aim to make healthy eating easier
Knowing the right way to eat is one thing, but doing it is not always easy, especially when dining out. But some Baltimore-area restaurants are making heart-healthy dining easier and more attractive for their diners. Restaurants Zia's in Towson are drawing new customers with a menu approach that makes eating heart-healthy almost foolproof.
The cafe's menu is completely free of white flour, hydrogenated oils and refined sugars. “We have doctors, nutritionists, trainers, coaches recommending people to us,” said Zia's owner, Daniela Troia. “We to accommodate all eaters,” said Troia. “We don't to preach to people. but we to offer people the best choices.
” It's when customers don't have healthy choices, or when they're tempted by bad ones, that heart-healthy eating suffers. National brands Boston Market are trying to make it easier for their customers to maintain a heart-healthy program. George Michel, chief executive officer for Boston Market, said his company has been improving the nutritional quality of its offerings.
“We hope to make it a little easier for diners to make more balanced choices,” Michel said. “We believe it's possible to have great-tasting food options that fit with a healthier lifestyle, while leaving room for the occasional indulges.” The company, headquartered in Golden, Colo.
, is now promoting its “100 meals under 550 calories,” which include combinations a quarter rotisserie chicken (white meat, no skin), with fresh steamed vegetables and cinnamon apples, which comes in at 540 calories. At Galen Sampson's Dogwood restaurant in Hampden, the move to a heart-healthy menu was partly personal. “I've made a commitment to being healthier,” said Sampson.
“My cholesterol is high. My doctor said, 'You're going to fix this or go on medication.'” Working with Karen Fick, a nutrition consultant, Sampson has been revamping his menu. “We're still going to have the favorites,” Sampson said. “We're not getting rid of the short rib. But a large subset of the menu is going to be vegetable-based. Meat will be more of a condiment.
” Sampson been introducing some of the new dishes over the past few months. “The vegetarian dishes have been popular,” Galen said, “but we're not holier than thou.
” At Tark's Grill in Lutherville, where customers clamor for chicken pot pie and meatloaf, chef Chris Golder offers alternatives to meat and potatoes that go beyond simple broiling, black cod in a Thai-flavored broth, served with rice noodles and plenty of vegetables. Golder said he's been introducing heart-healthy items slowly and subtly.
“We're thinning down some of our heavier sauces,” Golder said, “and running healthier items as specials.” One of the biggest obstacles to healthy eating in restaurants, according to Dr. Roger Blumenthal, founder of the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at Johns Hopkins, is portion control. “Restaurants to give customers their money's worth,” Blumenthal said.
“Portion sizes back in the 1960s and 1970s were much smaller.” Restaurants, he said, will often load plates up with cheap fillers potatoes and other high-glycemic food. One of the keys to a healthy restaurant dinner, Blumenthal said, can begin at breakfast. “People are ravenous by the time dinner comes. Eat something in the morning,” Dr. Blumenthal tells his patients.
“Eating in the morning takes the edge of your hunger. Have a healthy snack between lunch and dinner.” Blumenthal is a co-founder of Heartfest, a gala benefiting the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute that will be held this Saturday at Martin's Valley Mansion.
Zia's and Tark's Grill are among the 20 local restaurants and caterers that will be providing dishes for the event. “We've always know that there was a lot of association between different types of diet and different types of heart disease,” said Richard T. Lee, professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass.
“What has emerged over the past several decades is rigorous investigation into different diets. The wealth of evidence is so strong that we can make these recommendations with confidence.” Lee is an editor of the “Harvard Health Letter,” whose January issue includes a cover story on heart-healthy eating.
It recommends making one change each month toward the long-term goal of achieving a heart-healthy diet. The advice for January, for instance, is to serve, once a week, a broth-based soup loaded with vegetables and beans before or instead of the main course.
The basic goals line up neatly with those found on the American College of Cardiology's Cardio Smart website, which has dozens of fact sheets devoted to healthy eating and weight management, including ones focusing on grocery shopping and dining out. “A heart-healthy diet,” Cardio Smart says, “has lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, dried beans, and whole grains, and is low in salt.
It limits foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.” His patients do know, for the most part, what the bad foods are, Blumenthal said. They're aware of trans fats and know that to avoid fried food. Americans know the rules, but they break them, Blumenthal said. The evidence, he said, is all around us. “Most Americans are overweight or obese.
” The best chance for success, he said, comes when his patients take a consistent approach. “Certain types of food, with lots of sugar and fat, should be reserved for special occasions,” he said. Blumenthal prefers not to focus on the things healthy eating shouldn't be. “People shouldn't feel overly deprived. We try to emphasize following a healthy, nutritious diet.
People do better If you emphasize the good stuff to eat. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and fibers tend to fill you up more,” he said, “and they're healthier for you than high-glycemic food potatoes, rice and white bread.
” For those who are more comfortable with packaged programs, Blumenthal advocates the South Beach Diet, whose faddish-sounding name belies the fact that it was developed by a cardiologist, Dr. Arthur Agatson. He also s the website myfitnesspal.com, which helps users keep a journal of their caloric intake and exercise. Sampson and Fick will present, along with Dr. Dana Simpler, a workshop on healthy eating on Friday at the Dogwood. Simpler, who will discuss some of the science underpinning nutritional guidelines, thinks that institutional advice could be more explicit about the benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet. “I understand it,” Simpler said. “Rather than ask a lot and get nothing, they'd rather ask a little and get something. But I think people need to see the science and decide for themselves,” Simpler said. But the basic search for good advice, Lee said, should be over. “There are always things in the gray zone. What's not in the gray zone is that people should exercise more, lower number of calories, less salt, more potassium.” Things that are getting a little easier, even when not dining at home.
Heart-healthy events The coming weekend is full of events devoted to heart-healthy eating:
On Friday, Galen Sampson will present a workshop on healthy eating at Dogwood with Dr. Dana Simpler and nutrition consultant Karen Fick.
The event will include background on the science of heathy eating, information about implementing a healthy diet, a cooking demonstration and lunch prepared by Sampson. The event is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Friday at Dogwood, 911 W. 36th St. The cost is $75. For information call 410-563-1700.
On Saturday, chef, journalist and author Diane Kochilas will lead a master class in Greek country cooking at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation. The event, a fundraiser for the church's women's guild, will highlight some of Kochilas' favorite recipes and culinary techniques.
Tickets are $65 per person and include a tasting reception and signings of Kochilas' new book, “The Country Cooking of Greece,” which will also be on sale at the event. The master class in Greek cooking with Diane Kochilas will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 19 at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, 24 W. Preston St. The cost is $65.
Go to http://www.goannun.org for more information.
On Saturday night, the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute holds its Heartfest benefit with “heart-healthy cuisine prepared by local restaurants including Zia's and Tark's Grill and musical performances by the Heart Attackers, whose band members are composed of cardiologists, a gastroenterologist, a urologist and other medical professionals. There will also be educational and interactive displays created by Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute. The event is 7:30 p.m. to midnight at Martin's Valley Mansion, 594 Cranbrook Road, Cockeysville. Tickets are $125. For information, call 410-560-0677.
The DASH diet is the best way to eat for preventing heart disease
Update | This year, U.S. News & World Report ranked the DASH diet as one of two “best overall” among nearly 40 diets it reviewed. What makes DASH better than the rest? Basically, the plan, developed by the National Institutes of Health, limits salt intake and includes heart-healthy foods to live up to its name: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
“The dash diet lowers blood pressure significantly, independent of weight change and exercise and independent of sodium intake,” Edgar Miller, a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told Newsweek. “That's the beauty of the diet.”
In fact, the DASH diet reads less a fad diet than a healthy eating plan, including advice that many ly have heard before. Among the guidelines, according to a release from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, are: eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
When it comes to dairy, choose fat-free or low-fat options. It also advises including lean proteins in your diet, such as fish, chicken, beans and nuts and excluding foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oil.
And, of course, limit intake of those dietary vices of sweets and sugary drinks.
Vegetables are a key component of the top-ranked DASH diet plan.Getty Images
DASH was developed as an approach to lower blood pressure without medication research sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
The diet does not cut salt completely from the diet, according to the NIH, but lowers blood pressure by incorporating foods with a mix of nutrients, such as protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Research has found that combining foods with these nutrients works to normalize blood pressure and prevent inflammation.
“It's probably a combination of micronutrients and minerals that account for the blood pressure reduction,” Miller said. “It's also high in fiber, mostly through the vegetables and fruits.”
Miller co-authored a study published last month in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that showed that combining a low-salt diet with the heart-healthy foods included in the DASH diet substantially lowered systolic blood pressure among 400 adults with stage 1 high blood pressure, according to a release from Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“Our results add to the evidence that dietary interventions are as effective as—or more effective than—antihypertensive drugs in those at highest risk for high blood pressure, and should be a routine first-line treatment option for such individuals,” Dr. Stephen Juraschek, a study co-author, said in the news release. Juraschek is an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an adjunct assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
This is the eighth consecutive year that DASH received top honors in U.S. News and World Report diet rankings. This year, however, that ranking was shared with another—the Mediterranean Diet.
The Mediterranean Diet gets its name from the region where this well-balanced pattern of eating was inspired. It's similar to the DASH diet in that it includes an abundance of whole grains, vegetables, beans, nuts and fish.
However, it folds in appealing additions of lots of healhty fats fish and olive oil and even a little red wine (the wine's optional).
“I think the Mediterranean diet is a great diet as well,” said Miller. “Our studies show that both the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet are effective at lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. I think they're both winners.”
As David Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, points out in a release about the diet rankings, one plan will not work for everyone but diets DASH and the Mediterranean Diet can serve as helpful guideposts.
“No single diet is the best for all of us,” Katz said. “Ultimately, a 'best' diet is one that can be adopted, managed and sustained over time. “
This article has been updated to include quotes and information from Edgar Miller of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.