Heart smart cooking

Grab your chef’s apron and get set to take your health to heart. Eating smart
is one of your best weapons against heart disease, and what better place to
give your diet a heart healthy boost than in your own kitchen.

The key to heart healthy cooking is to use less fat, especially saturated fat,
and add more fibre, as this will help to control blood cholesterol levels. To
get started on heart smart cooking, try applying the following tips:

1. Reduce your intake of saturated and trans fats including butter,
shortening and lard.

If added fat is needed in cooking or frying, limit the amount you use and substitute
saturated fat with fats that contain a high proportion of monounsaturated and
polyunsaturated fats. The latter are good fats that actively lower blood cholesterol
levels, and can be found in vegetable oils and soft, non-hydrogenated margarine.

2. Use reduced-fat cooking methods where possible.

Always consider using cooking methods that do not require adding fat,
such as roasting, broiling and steaming. Summer is the perfect time to make
use of your barbecue. Not only is itast and fun, it’s healthier too, as grills
and barbecues allow fat to run off.

3. Manage your serving sizes.

The average man should have no more than 90 grams of total fat per
day, and the average woman should have no more than 65 grams per day. Most of
these fats should be monounsaturated,and polyunsaturated (not saturated or trans
fat). Knowing how much fat is in the food you eat is the first step to getting
rid of some, so look for the Nutrition Facts panel on food packaging.

4. Use herbs and spices instead of fat for flavour.

Fat tends to intensify the flavour of foods, so when you lower the fat in your
recipes, be sure to compensate by increasing the amount of herbs and spices.
Try flavouring food with vinegars and lemon juice.

5. Increase the amount of fibre in your diet to 25 to 35 grams a day.

Fibre is an important component of food that helps to lower blood cholesterol
levels. Stock your cupboards and refrigerator full of vegetables, fruit and
legumes, such as peas and beans, lentils and whole grain cereals.

Good food is one of life’s great joys. It is an even greater pleasure when
you can rest assured it’s good for your heart.