Love on your Heart this Valentines Day

 Love on your Heart this Valentines Day -- The Holistic Dietitian

February is heart health month. So in honor, let’s talk about heart disease.

Cholesterol does not clog arteries. It’s a common misconception because that’s what we’ve been told. The government, doctors, and dietitians have all been pushing a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet for years. But then guess what happened.. type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease numbers skyrocketed. The good news is that recently the science is finally being publicized that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol are not linked to heart disease. Cholesterol plays many important roles in our body, including hormones production, vitamin D precursor, neurotransmitters production, but cholesterol also answers to damage done to cardiovascular vessels by other inflammatory agents. This inflammation is caused by sugar, high amounts of cortisol, emotional stress, and highly refined, hydrogenated vegetable oils (the very oils that we were told were healthy, gasp!). Think of these inflammatory agents as sand paper against our arteries. Cholesterol, along with white blood cells and other cells are then called in to form a seal to prevent a “blow out”. So instead of demonizing cholesterol, which is like blaming the fire truck for causing the fire, we need to address the ROOT CAUSE and look at inflammation as the offender.

Love your heart with these simple diet changes:
-Cut out refined carbohydrates and sugar. Replace with nutrient-dense carbohydrates such as vegetables and fruit.
-Increase consumption of heart-loving quality fats such as full fat dairy, avocado, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, nuts and seeds. (Did you know that fat is the preferred energy source of the heart?)
-Incorporate fun exercise in to your day. This will also help to relieve stress and delights your heart!