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Eat for Health

Published: June 9, 2010

Looking for delicious foods that help you stay healthy, too? Try the new versions of your favorite foods, which, in moderation, are actually good for you!

Check nutrition labels at local and online stores for pastas, breads, and snack foods with these three “super” ingredients to boost fiber consumption, lower cholesterol, and control your appetite:

Plant sterols

Derived from corn and soybeans, plant sterols help reduce artery-clogging low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels by blocking cholesterol absorption in the gut. Consuming 800 mg of the sterols each day lowers LDL by 8 percent to 15 percent within four weeks, say federal health experts. People with high cholesterol may benefit from higher amounts, up to 2 g daily.

A new line of pastas and pasta sauces called Racconto Essentials Heart Health is fortified with 400 mg of CoroWise plant sterols per serving. The pasta also provides 28 percent of the daily fiber recommendation and is low in fat.

Chef Gerard Viverito, Director of Culinary Education
Courtesy of Gerald Viverito

Chef Gerard Viverito, Director of Culinary Education for Passionfish blends traditional recipes with nutritional ingredients for healthful results, a style of cooking that he refers to as “functional cooking.”

Click here for two Racconto pasta recipes created by Chef Viverito exclusively for Post readers.

Other products with plant sterols include: Benecol,
 Promise, and Smart Balance margarines;
 Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise Orange Juice,
 Kroger Active Lifestyle Fat Free Milk,
 Health Valley Heart Wise Cereal 
Nature and Chewy Granola Bars;
 Oroweat Whole Grain & Oat Bread;
 Right Direction Cookies;
 CocaVia Milk Chocolate Bars; and VitaTops muffin tops.

“To ensure you are getting an optimal amount of cholesterol-lowering plant sterols, look for the CoroWise logo on the label,” suggests Dr. Joe Keenan, a leading researcher on micronutrients for the heart, including plant sterols. “Combined with 45-60 minutes of aerobic exercise five to six days a week, you can help to significantly lower your risk of heart disease and still enjoy foods you love to eat!” 

Resistant starch

Commercial bread products with a Hi-Maize resistant starch logo contain a type of starch that staves off digestion until reaching the colon, where it may contribute to digestive health and offer other key benefits. Whole grains, fruits, and legumes are naturally rich in resistant starch (RS).

Click here http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2009/06/25/wellness/general-health/food-in-the-news/type-fiber.html to learn more about RS and foods that contain it.

Salba (chia)

The tiny seed of the Salvia hispanica L. plant, better known as chia and widely available online, is surprisingly nutritious. Sprinkling 2 tablespoons of Salba (a commercial chia seed product studied at the University of Toronto) on a serving of hot cereal, yogurt, and other food adds about 3.6 g of omega-3s and 6 g of fiber, along with calcium, iron, magnesium, and other nutrients to one’s diet.

For more information, products, and recipes, visit http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2009/02/11/wellness/general-health/research-front/wholegrain-promise.html

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  • Lindsay Helgeson

    Thank you for the delicious tips to keep heart-healthy, Wendy! I’m always looking for easy and fun ways to be proactive about my health – especially in foods. It seems to be so easy to help ourselves with the wide variety of options in the stores today…the challenge is knowing which ones are scientifically proven to work. I will be watching for the new Racconto Heart Health pasta and the Salba seeds!!