Nutrition: Cooking to Improve Heart Health...Create Your Recipes, the basics, Part I
"Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" by Dr Caldwell B Esselstyn, Avery, Publisher
"Heal your Heart" by Dr. Lance K Gould, Rutgers University Press
"Reversing Heart Disease" by Dr Dean Ornish, Random House Publishing
In most instances, when people are recovering from a heart attack or when they have just been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, angina or hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels)... they are also told something like "eat well !" and nothing else on that subject. Of course your doctor does not have the time to explain what eating well means in terms of heart-friendly nutrition and recipes.

Rolling back or reversing your heart disease is then up to you. Fortunately, finding cooking ways or methods to improve heart health becomes rather easy and even pleasant once you have some nutrition basics. You can create and even modify recipes to suit your purpose. In the present article, first of a series, we will use an hM Chef Goodwizzard's recipe as an example to illustrate the principles and the resulting recipe. We will compare the usual common "Spaghetti with meat sauce & meatballs" with the resembling "hM Spaghetti alla Bolognese". You will notice that although the hM recipe borders on the very-low fat, its total nutritional value is far superior to the regular common recipe. In many instances, the new recipe supplies two or three times more vitamins, minerals, fiber and other beneficial nutrients than the common recipe. Let us compare the "Nutrition Facts" Summaries. ( You will be able to study the recipe in next month's hM Nutrition Journal ).
Total Calories
% of Calories from Fat
% of Calories from Carbohydrate
% of Calories from Protein
 355 KCal ,  very good 
 16.9 % , excellent
 47.8 % , very good
 35.2 % , good
hM for heart health
Total Calories
% of Calories from Fat
% of Calories from Carbohydrate
% of Calories from Protein
 651 KCal , high 
 50.0 % , much too high
 31.0 % , too low
 18.0 % , good
Common Recipe
Comparing the total calories for similar tasting recipes, the difference is striking. The heart health version is almost half as light. Or the common recipe is twice as heavy. The difference is attributable to the fat content. Do yourself a very big favour and memorize the following:

One can take the advice of those leading cardiologists who have been able to clearly demonstrate coronary heart disease reversal. According to these heart specialists, the total fat content in any recipe should be in the vicinity of 15% or lower. Some people disagree with them, often because the sale of their products could be in jeopardy. However if you look at the angiograms ( special medical imaging of heart arteries ) provided by Dr. Esselstyn from The Cleveland Clinic, you have to concede that he wins. When the very respected Dr. Lance K. Gould ( University of Texas Medical School ) produces scans that prove improved heart perfusion, you have to concede. If you look at the overall record of Dr. Ornish, you have to concede that lower fat content and especially lower saturated fat content is most desirable.

In our recipe, we have used an oil sprayer to reduce the amount of fat used. The hM Oil Blend we refer to is in fact a mix of canola oil (50%) and extra virgin olive oil. Some brands already offer such a mix. The virtues of it are that it is low in harmful saturated fats but high in the more beneficial mono- and poly- unsaturated fats. Keep the total content low. In order to further reduce the total saturated fat content, we have used ground soy instead of ground beef. The protein content of soy, like beef, is complete. It supplies all the amino acids necessary for the synthesis of protein. The taste and texture is very similar to that of ground beef. The problem with the beef based protein is that it comes with saturated fat as a bonus. This would favour the synthesis of LDL cholesterol, which in turn causes cardiovascular ailments.

As a conclusion of part I, remember that when creating a recipe to improve your heart's health, lowering total fat and lowering saturated fat content are the most important factors.

PRINCIPLE I : Keep total fat in you recipes to : around 20% of Kilocalories - or lower ( some authors have it as low as 10% ). Remember: 1 gram of fat equals 9 kilocalories.

Replacing butter, margarine,
and some less desirable types
oil with a mix of canola oil and
olive oil will, if used sparingly, do
a lot to improve the lipid profile
and improve your heart's health.
Using an oil sprayer will help in
lowering the total fat content in
your recipes.

Read the labels and avoid cooking with products that have a high trans fat or saturated fat content as this is not compatible with good nutrition,

The next article will cover the choice of protein and the importance of including fibre in your recipes designed to improve heart health. The third one will cover cooking methods and compare baking, frying, boiling, micro-waving and sauteeing.
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