Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Eating your way to good heart health
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 12 Jan 2007, p. 6

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With obesity on the rise in North America, the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) is becoming a greater concern. With Heart Month just around the corner, it's a good time to think about heart healthy foods. While we often hear about what foods we should avoid for heart health, we don't hear as much about what we should eat to keep our tickers in top shape. The good news is that many Canadians are now choosing some healthier foods to snack on. In fact, according to a snack survey by The NPD Group, fresh fruit was the number one snack in 2005 and yogurt replaced chips in the number three spot. Below are some vitamin tips for your heart to get pumped about and to help you make heart healthier choices: Vitamin B6 The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends a diet rich in B vitamins, because they help to regulate levels of an amino acid that may damage the lining of the artery walls, which can lead to the buildup of plaque and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Vitamin B6 is found in organ meat, fish, eggs, beans and bananas. Lycopene Lycopene, found most-commonly in tomato-based foods, is an antioxidant linked to heart health in numerous studies. While cooking most veggies can deplete nutrients to a certain degree, cooking tomatoes makes lycopene more available to be absorbed by the body. For instance, tomato paste contains four times as much "bioavailable" lycopene as raw tomatoes. Lycopene is also found in rosehips, watermelon, papaya and pink grapefruit. Folate Research shows that the intake of folate and vitamin B6 may be important in the primary prevention of coronary heart disease among women. Dietary and supplemental folic acid can reduce homocysteine levels, a harmful amino acid. Studies have shown that too much homocysteine in the blood is related to a higher risk of coronary heart disease. Vitamin E Modest amounts of vitamin E could result in a 40% reduction in the incidence of CHD. Vitamin E also plays a role in reducing the risk of a second heart attack in CHD patients. Vegetable and seed oils, nuts and wheat germ are good sources of vitamin E. Reducing the risk of heart disease should start with good nutrition. Following a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in fat, as well as taking a daily multivitamin supplement, such as Centrum Advantage, are good ways to make sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs. More tips on healthy eating are available online at www.centrum.ca. --News Canada

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Eating your way to good heart health