Nutrition: Eating for Heart Health

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Guest:  Emily Whitehead – Dietetic Services

Host:  Dr. Linda Austin – Psychiatry

Dr. Linda Austin:  I’m Dr. Linda Austin.  I’m interviewing Emily Whitehead who is a clinical dietician here at the Medical University of South Carolina.  Emily, let’ talk, today, about an area of interest to you which is dietary issues for heart patients.  Let’s imagine that I’m a patient and I have just had my first heart attack, or I’ve been told that I’m at risk for a heart attack.  What are some of the first things you’d ask me?

Emily Whitehead:  The first thing I would ask you is how you’d been eating prior to your heart attack, if there had been any kind of special diet you’d been following.

Dr. Linda Austin:  Okay, so let’s say that I tell you, well, I have a wonderful diet.  I get up in the morning and for breakfast, I have oatmeal with cream and then I usually like to have an omelet, like, you know, scrambled eggs with, maybe, some cheddar cheese and a couple strips of bacon, so that’s breakfast.  And then, mid-morning, I like to have a cinnamon roll just to kind of tide through the morning.  And then by lunch time, I’m really ready again and so, uhm, maybe, a cheeseburger or, you know, I’ll stop off at McDonald’s and get some fries, and so forth.  Then, by mid-afternoon, because I’m really dragging, I’ll have, oh, a piece of apple pie with some vanilla ice cream.  And then for dinner, I really like my pork belly and my, say, mashed potatoes with butter.

Emily Whitehead:  Okay.  Well, I would start with your breakfast.  Oatmeal is wonderful.  It’s wonderful for heart health, lots of whole grains, low in saturated fat, generally low in sodium, especially if it’s the homemade type of oatmeal and not packaged, you know, where you add water and boil.  The eggs, there’s nothing wrong with eggs.  The American Heart Association says you can have three to four whole eggs a week.

Dr. Linda Austin:  Three to four a week, what about my two a day?

Emily Whitehead:  Well, two a day, if you’re already suffering from high cholesterol, or you’re not cutting back in other areas, I understand you like, you know, the cheese, and things like that.

Dr. Linda Austin:  Oh, I do.

Emily Whitehead:  So, you’d probably want to stick with two whole eggs and not go above that.  But, you could also try just an egg white omelet.  That wouldn’t contain any cholesterol.  That would be a good way to still have an omelet, or you could try egg substitutes.  Then, the bacon, you could try soy bacon.  If you’re ever interested in trying that, it wouldn’t have the same types of

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