Cholesterol can cause hardening of the arteries and may increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. The best way to improve your cholesterol is through diet and exercise. If this does not correct your cholesterol completely, medications can be added in addition to your lifestyle changes.
Dr. Ben-Zur recommends mostly a vegetarian diet. Studies have shown that a vegetarian diet can help decrease your chance of heart disease by up to 30%. It can also help lower your blood pressure as well as help control or prevent diabetes. It is important to understand that changing your lifestyle is not easy but the benefits are huge. In some cases diet can even reverse heart disease.
You may be wondering what kinds of food are appropriate to keep my cardiovascular system healthy. The following categories of foods will all help keep you healthy.
- • Berries– Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries
- • Soy Products– Soymilk (nonfat), Soy Cheese (nonfat), Tofu – low salt varieties
- • Fruit– Apples, Pears, Cantaloupe, Cherries ( a wide variety of colors is best)
- • Green leafy vegetables (Think salad but no dressing! It is high in fat and calories. Use balsamic vinegar / mustard / lemon with water instead)
Different colored fruits and vegetables all have different phytochemicals which are the chemicals in plants that give them their characteristic colors, many of these compounds are being studied for their roles in preventing common health problems such as Heart Disease and Diabetes. Due to new research it is now recommended that Americans consume 5 to 9 serving of fruits and vegetables per day.
Try to eat a wide variety of different colored vegetables including:
- • Red– Beets, Rhubarb, Cabbage, Bell Pepper, Radishes, Tomatoes
- • Yellow/Orange– Butternut Squash, Carrots, Winter Squash, Turnip, Pumpkin, Spaghetti Squash
- • Green– Green Cabbage, Fennel, Snow Peas, Artichoke, Green Beans or Wax Beans, Celery, Leek, Lettuce( Romaine, Boston, Red Leaf etc.), Spinach, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cucumber, Zucchini
- • White, Tan and Brown– Garlic, Mushrooms, Jicama, Onions (white, Brown, and Red), Cauliflower, Eggplant, Parsnip
- • Protein : Pea soup ( no salt)
The following groups of foods are extremely detrimental to good health and can be damaging to the body. These should be avoided at all times.
Things to avoid:
- • Red Meat (extremely high in saturated fat)
- • Poultry ( rich in cholesterol)
- • Bread, Pasta, Rice
- • Shell Fish
- • Baked goods (cakes, pastries, cookies, and muffins)
- • Fried Foods (Fried Chicken, French fries)
- • Fast Food
- • Canned Soups and Vegetables (High salt content)
Make water your drink of choice stay away from carbonated and caffeinated beverages
Exercise is an important part of any lifestyle modification. Diet and exercise have a synergistic effect on one another, meaning that when used together they are more effective then they are separately. It has been shown that at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day will improve the health of your heart, help you to lose weight, and feel better. When it comes to exercise more is always better, however be sure to start slowly and work up to whatever level of fitness you wish to achieve.
Exercise does not necessarily mean joining a gym or buying equipment. You can make small modifications to your daily activities in order to exercise more. Try the following:
-Use the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can
-Get up to change the channel on the TV, instead of the remote
-Park farther away in a parking lot
-While watching TV, stand up and sit down 20 times in a row
-Add a short walk in the morning before breakfast or in the evening after dinner
If you develop any problems, complications or questions, please do not hesitate to call our office at