Patient's Guide to Heart Transplant Surgery
Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Restriction
Cholesterol is a necessary fatty substance found in the body and many animal foods. Fats are concentrated sources of energy which occur in three forms: polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated. People who have large amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats in their blood are at increased risk of having thickening of their blood vessels throughout their bodies. This is because saturated fats and cholesterol in your blood will gather along the walls of your blood vessels causing them to narrow. If this narrowing becomes severe in the blood vessels of your heart, the blood supply to your heart will not get enough oxygen, and the cells of your heart will die. This is called "Coronary Artery Disease."
In addition to your diet, your medications may also increase the level of fats in your blood. Thus, in order to prevent coronary artery disease, your overall fat intake must be restricted after surgery. Generally, your overall fat intake should not be more than 30%of your total calories each day. Increasing the proportion of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat in your diet and decreasing your total saturated fat intake to less than 10% of your total fat intake will actually help to lower cholesterol and saturated fat levels in your blood. The aim of this diet is to keep the levels of fats in your blood within normal limits.
Foods high in cholesterol & saturated fats
- Animal products
Liver and organ meats, luncheon meats like liverwurst & salami, other meats, egg yolks, whole milk, butter, cream, and whole milk cheeses.
- Vegetables high in saturated fats
Coconut, palm, and cocoa.
Instead of frying your foods, try to bake, boil, or steam when preparing foods.
Foods high in monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats
- Meats and other protein foods
Lean meats, low fat dairy products, and fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout, bluefish).
- Vegetable fats
Olive oil, corn oil, soybean oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, and tub margarine.
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