What diet changes will I have to make with Coronary Artery Disease?

If you are diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease you will have to make some changes in your life. Besides getting more exercise, quitting smoking, and reducing your stress levels you will need to change what and how much you eat.

The most important thing you will need to do is reduce the amount fat and cholesterol in your diet. Now I'm not saying you have to cut them out completely, but you do need to start paying attention to what you eat. Start reading the labels to get an idea of how much your normal daily intake is. Notice that there are different types of fat – the fats you need to watch out for are saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.

The American Heart Association recommends that your total dietary fat intake should not be more than 30% of your total daily calories.

This can be broken down further by limiting the different types of fats to:

1) Saturated fats and Trans fats (combined intake) = 7-10%

2) Polyunsaturated fats = up to 10%

3) Monounsaturated fats = up to 15%

Cholesterol comes from two sources, food and your liver. While we can help control you cholesterol levels with medication and exercise, the most important factor is watching your daily intake. The American Heart Association recommends that your total Cholesterol = less than 300 milligrams per day. Animal fats contain cholesterol, these are foods such as meat, egg yolk, poultry, fish/seafood and whole-milk products. Plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds do not contain cholesterol.

Total sodium intake should be less than 2,300 milligrams per day (approx 1 teaspoon of salt). It is really important to read labels since many pre-packaged products are very high in sodium. Even diet sodas contain sodium.

Your total daily calories depend on your size, current weight and activity level. Generally women who want to lose weight should eat 1200–1500 calories a day, and men should eat 1500–1800 calories daily. Check with your doctor to see how many calories they recommend for you. Most Americans already consume enough protein, but increasing the amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products you eat will have important health benefits.

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