Test your knowledge on healthy heart basics

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 12, 2006

February is typically the month for establishing healthy relationships, but it is also a great time to focus on your own heart!

Think of the time, commitment, and patience that you use daily in dealing with people, especially those you love.

Just like your relationships, achieving a healthy heart also requires these tools.

Love at first sight doesn’t happen very often.

Likewise, building a healthy heart doesn’t happen in just one to two days.

Rather, it requires your time and commitment.

So what is the most important nutritional tool you need to build a healthy heart?


Being a savvy shopper is not easy these days.

David Meinz, Registered Dietitian, professional speaker, and author says, &8220;You make your health care decisions in restaurants and grocery stores.&8221;

Many of my patient’s state they are spending more time in grocery store aisles as they try to decipher food labels.

The fact is labels are becoming more confusing with each new regulation placed upon food manufacturers.

Also, type in any nutrition topic on the computer and you are bombarded by thousands of web sites to choose from as you wonder who and what to believe.

Some nutrition information does come from legitimate sources that are scientifically and medically based, while others say whatever necessary in order to sell a product.

Test your knowledge on some basics to having a healthy heart.

True or false: Only animal products contain actual cholesterol.

True, because cholesterol is made in the liver of ANY animal.

Your own body makes some cholesterol, you get some from any animal product you eat, and your body makes extra cholesterol to store (for a rainy day) from excess saturated fats you consume.

True or false: Research is showing that consuming any saturated fat may increase your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.


Saturated fats (to simplify it, think of them as solid fats) are found in animal sources such as butter, cream, etc, but also from the hydrogenation process, thus called hydrogenated oils.

Hydrogenated oils are/equal Trans fats.

They are made from adding hydrogen to any vegetable oil to make it a solid.

True or false:

I don’t have to worry about other oils like coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil because they are natural fats.


These are saturated fats also.

You might not think you eat any but if you eat chocolate this month you are most likely getting any combination of these.

These exotic fats are added to chocolate to make it hard and palatable.

They are also added to other foods like some margarine’s to make them more solid also.

True or false:

Trans fats are only in the tubs or sticks of margarine we buy.


Trans fats are unfortunately hiding in most snack and bakery foods we eat, including some peanut butter.

Remember the Crisco shorting you used to make pie crust at Christmas?

Crisco is hydrogenated.

So be sure to read the labels on all your food choices and look for &8220;zero&8221; Trans fats under the fat section.

Then, under the ingredient list you will find the type of hydrogenated oils.

The healthiest oils are olive, canola, peanut, and other liquid oils.

True or false:

&8220;Zero grams of Trans fat per serving&8221; means there are no Trans fats in the product.


The FDA says as long as a product has .5 grams and less per serving, the food manufacturer can label it as having zero.

Look at the ingredient list for &8220;hydrogenated oil&8221; to see if there is a small amount.

Remember, you don’t have to go totally Trans fat free, so the further down on the ingredient list it is the better.

True or false:

Triglycerides are also a form of fat in the blood that can increase your risk for heart disease.


If your triglycerides are high it most likely is from consuming excess alcohol or simple sugars such as sweets, regular pop, etc.

True or false:

The newest research shows you don’t need to eat a breakfast.


It is still the recommendation even though lots of people don’t.

People who consume a healthy breakfast consume more vitamins and minerals and less fat and cholesterol than those who don’t.

They have more strength and endurance, have better concentration.

True or false: A ten-pound weight loss is too little to make a difference.


Many people have joint pain, especially if they are overweight.

Did you know that losing one pound of fat is like taking four pounds of pressure off your knees?

It also makes exercising easier and lessens the fat around your heart and other organs.

So how did you score?

There is so much more to know also.

Would you like to learn more about achieving a healthier heart?

On Feb. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at Healthreach, ALMC is sponsoring a seminar, &8220;Heart Truth for Women.&8221; This is a great opportunity to come and learn more on exercise, nutrition, and weight loss.

You can register for this by calling 379-2046.

(Denise Arnold is a registered and licensed dietitian at Albert Lea Medical Center &045;&160;part of Mayo Health

System. )