Published on Thu, Feb 21, 2002
Read More News

It’s never too late...

Most Americans know that just a few simple steps can lead to lower cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of heart disease, but the majority could use a serious jump start.

According to a national survey conducted by Honey Nut Cheerios, many consumers understand why they should make changes in their diet to help lower their cholesterol, but knowledge doesn’t always lead to action.

Consumers say they know that certain foods can have a positive impact on their heart health, but most simply aren’t incorporating them into their diet. Making lifestyle changes seemed to be the biggest barrier to lowering cholesterol levels. When asked what would make lowering cholesterol easier, respondent answers included everything from “a magic pill” to “having a personal chef.”

According to the survey, 38 percent of women had not had their cholesterol checked within the last year; 13 percent of women and 16 percent of men have never had their cholesterol checked.

More than 50 percent of women incorrectly identified cancer as their greatest health threat. In reality, heart disease is the number one killer of both women and men in the United States. Furthermore, less than four out of ten respondents know their cholesterol level and 41 percent didn’t know that blood cholesterol levels above 250 mg are considered high cholesterol. “Adding heart-healthy foods, as suggested by the American Heart Association, can have positive effects on your heart health over time, and it’s easier than people think,” says Liz Nordlie, Honey Nut Cheerios brand manager. “You don’t have to suddenly change everything about the way you eat. In fact, many great tasting foods that can help lower your cholesterol are already in most people’s cupboards.”

An easy first step toward a heart-healthy diet is to eat more foods that provide soluble fiber. Nearly three out of 10 adults surveyed felt that adding foods that help lower cholesterol would mean sacrificing taste, but most (70 percent) would still be interested in incorporating them into their diet regardless of taste. Foods containing soluble fiber include everyday favorites, such as apples, oranges, pears, carrots, oatmeal, and rye bread,
An important step toward decreasing your cholesterol begins with paying attention to the foods you eat.

Start the day with a bowl of your favorite whole grain oat cereal. If you are in a rush, fill a small bag with cereal and take it to go!

For lunch, try your sandwich on rye bread. Not only will this add flavor to your meal, rye bread provides heart-smart soluble fiber.

Dress up your salad with something other than salad oil. Try adding kidney or garbanzo beans.

For a quick snack, keep apples, baby carrots, pears and oranges on hand. Do your veggie sticks need pizzazz? Try them with hummus! Hummus is made from garbanzo beans and makes a great dipping alternative.
Substitute soy nuts for other salty snacks.

Use your favorite whole grain cereal to create your own trail mix. Dried fruit makes a great addition! Choose skim and other low-fat dairy products, or low-fat soymilk. . .