February 2011 Issue

Heart-Healthy Foods and Nutrients

A dietary pattern that is low in animal fats, and high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes has been linked with protecting the heart, but particular foods and nutrients offer special promise for keeping cholesterol levels in check. "All food is functional, but some foods have positive health benefits beyond basic nutrition," explains Joan Salge Blake, M.S., R.D., dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, speaking about the role of foods and nutrients in heart health. Since heart disease is a major public health concern (almost 50 percent of American adults have high cholesterol levels over 200 mg/dL, a major risk for heart disease), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a number of heart health claims on food labels that pertain to certain nutrients found in both whole foods and supplements.

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