Heart Healthy Diet and Fat Intake Control


Over-intake of saturated fat and cholesterol cause hyperlipidemia while hyperlipidemia is one of the reasons that cause coronary disease. So control fat intake is very important in heart healthy diet. Fat intake should be 20-25% of the total heat intake each day, in which animal fat should be less than 1/3.

Fatty acid is the main composition of fat. Any fat-containing food has saturated fatty acid and unsaturated fatty acid. High saturated fat foods help to improve bad cholesterol and interupt fat normal work. So we should avoid it. Animal fat, animal oil such as butter, full-fat cheese and lard contain more saturated fat.

Unsaturated fat reduces bad cholesterol density. It has two categeories: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

Though certain amount of polyunsaturated fat is necessary, eating too much maybe harmful,so its intake is better around 6% of total heat. Polyunsaturated fat exists in corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil and many nuts.

Monounsaturated fat not only reduce bad cholesterol density but also improve good cholesterol, better than polyunsaturated fat. It largely exists in olive oil, vegetable seed oil, peanut oil, avocado,nuts. It also exists in milk products, egg, fish, and other foods.

The most harmful fat is trans-fat, worse than saturated fat. It improves bad cholesterol density and reduces good cholesterol density. Most trans-fats are unsaturated fat but are transfered (hydrogenated) during food process. It exists in baked food such as cookies, cakes, pudding, margarine,fried chips,etc. People with heart disease must avoid it, even normal people should not eat it exceeding 1% of total heat intake each day.

On the other hand, fat intake too low is also harmful to heart disease patients. Some patients think that diet control should be low fat and low cholesterol, so they are afraid to eat meat, fish, egg, milk, even vegetable oil. Such diet is easy to cause very low blood hemoglobin, then the consequence is that cardiac muscle becomes short of blood. Severe anemia may even cause anemic heart disease for those who have healthy heart.

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