In this Q&A, Aneesh Singhal, MD, vice chair of the Department of Neurology, describes the risk of clotting disorders among COVID-19 patients, the treatment options available, how patients can prevent stroke and what to do if they experience symptoms.
If you are trying to make heart-healthy changes to your diet, it is helpful to know some basics about nutrition, starting with the components of food.
Many vascular conditions can be improved by changing certain lifestyle factors. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of many factors. If you are trying to make heart-healthy changes to your diet, it is helpful to know some basics about nutrition, starting with the components of food. Check nutrition labels and ingredients for information regarding what is contained in a particular food product.
Facts About Calories
- You need enough calories to maintain your energy level, but no more than you can burn off. This is called an energy balance
- If you take in more calories than you burn, you gain weight
- If you take in fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight
- If you balance the two, you maintain your weight
- Even when you are dieting, however, calories should not be cut back so much that your energy needs are not met. The number of calories you need depends primarily on age, gender, and activity level
Facts About Dietary Cholesterol
- Remember: "cholesterol-free" does not mean "fat-free"
- Dietary cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in all foods of animal origin: egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish, milk, and milk products
- Because our bodies make cholesterol, it is not required in our diets. However, because most people eat foods that contain cholesterol, it is important to avoid excessive amounts. The amount of cholesterol you consume can affect your blood cholesterol levels
Types of Fats
Fatty acids are the basic chemical units in fat. They may be saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, or trans fats. These fatty acids differ in their chemical compositions and structures, and in the way in which they affect your blood cholesterol levels, according to the following:
- Is used by the liver to manufacture cholesterol
- Is considered the most dangerous kind of fat because it has been shown to raise blood cholesterol levels, particularly the LDL
- Should comprise no more than 10 percent of your daily calorie intake
- Examples include: meats, butter, cocoa butter, coconut and palm oils
- Do not appear to raise blood cholesterol levels
- Examples: safflower, sunflower, corn, and vegetable oils, margarines, and soybean oils
- Do not seem to have any affect on blood cholesterol
- Examples: olive and canola oils
- By-products of hydrogenation, a chemical process used to change liquid unsaturated fat to a more solid fat. Structurally similar to saturated fat, trans fatty acids may have a great impact on raising total and LDL cholesterol levels
- Examples: stick margarine and fats found in commercially prepared cakes, cookies, and snack foods
- Total fat intake should be no more than 30 percent of your daily calorie intake
Facts About Fats
- All fats contain about the same number of calories - teaspoon for teaspoon
- Fat is the most concentrated source of calories, supplying more than twice as many calories per gram as either carbohydrates or proteins
- Most people tend to get far too much fat in their diets, which contributes to health problems such as obesity, high blood cholesterol, and heart disease
- While coconut and palm oils contain no cholesterol, they are high in saturated fat and should be avoided
Facts About Fiber
- Fiber is the indigestible portion of food
- There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble
- Soluble fiber - found in such foods as oat bran and dried beans, can lower blood cholesterol in some people
- Insoluble fiber - found in foods such as wheat bran and is known to have many benefits. While this type of fiber has not been found to lower cholesterol, it is useful in weight control because it creates a feeling of fullness
Facts About Sodium
- Although salt is the major contributor of sodium in our diets, sodium and salt are not the same, contrary to popular belief. A teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 milligrams of sodium
- Sodium is a mineral needed to maintain body fluids and proper nerve function. It occurs naturally in some foods, but most of the sodium in our diets comes from seasonings and food additives
- Too much dietary sodium can cause the blood pressure to rise, putting one at risk for heart disease or stroke
- Patient Education
- Mar | 2 | 2020
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mass General Fireman Vascular Center is providing general and surgical care for our patients. We have taken unprecedented steps to ensure all office visits, procedures and surgeries are welcoming and safe. We have also expanded our virtual visit offerings.
- Press Release
- May | 16 | 2019
New high-sensitivity cardiac troponin tests can help physicians diagnose a heart attack in as little as an hour.
- Jan | 25 | 2019
45 doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital's Department of Surgery were included in Boston magazine's 2019 Top Doctors list.
- Press Release
- Jan | 22 | 2019
A new report from investigators at Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, the New England Research Institutes and Massachusetts General Hospital describes international clinical trial.
- Staff Story
- Jan | 10 | 2019
The Mass General Division of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery recognizes Peggy Leary, who ensures clinics run efficiently and that patients receive compassionate, high-quality care.