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Heart-Healthy Eating For People With Diabetes

Contributed by: NAPSA

(NAPSA) - Diabetes increases your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. In fact, two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. By making wise food choices, you can help to protect your heart and blood vessels.

Some types of fat in the foods you eat can raise blood cholesterol. High blood cholesterol can cause blood vessels to get clogged and can lead to heart attacks and stroke. The "bad" types of fat are saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. Some types of fats actually lower cholesterol and can reduce chances for heart disease and stroke. If you have diabetes, it is especially important to follow a heart-healthy meal plan that minimizes the "bad" fats and incorporates wiser food choices.

Try these steps to help protect your heart and blood vessels:

  • Eat less fat, especially saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. Saturated fat is found in meat, poultry skin, butter, 2 percent or whole milk, ice cream and lard. Cholesterol is found in high-fat diary products, egg yolks, liver and other organ meats, high-fat meat and poultry with the skin. Trans fats are found in crackers and snack foods, french fries, shortening and stick margarine. You can spot trans fats on food labels by looking for the words "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated oils."

  • Choose the kinds of fat that can help lower your cholesterol. If you use cooking oil, choose olive oil or canola oil. Nuts and avocados also have a healthy type of fat. However, all oils, nuts and fats are high in calories.

  • Have fish two or three times a week. Albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, rainbow trout, sardines and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat that may help lower blood fat levels and prevent clogging of the arteries.

  • Cook with less fat. You can cut down on total fat by broiling, microwaving, baking, roasting, steaming or grilling foods. Nonstick pans and cooking sprays also help.

  • Eat more foods that are high in fiber. Fiber may help lower your cholesterol levels and aid the digestive system at the same time. Examples include: oatmeal, oat bran, dried beans and peas, apples, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, pears, prunes, carrots and broccoli.

For more tips, work with a dietitian to develop a meal plan that will help you manage your diabetes and reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.

This message is from the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology, partners in an educational initiative called "Make the Link! Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke." For more information, call 1-800-DIABETES.

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