Fact or fiction: Best food and drink for heart health

CHICAGO (WLS) -- So called, "heart healthy foods" may not be as beneficial as we think. For example, we've been told that we should be eating salmon and drinking red wine to maintain a health heart. Meanwhile, death related to heart disease is still on the rise.

David Foreman, pharmacist and author of the new book, "4 Pillars of Health: Heart Disease", has some tips about what we should be eating instead.

TRUE or FALSE: Oatmeal is not the best heart healthy breakfast.

TRUE: Twenty years ago the FDA gave oatmeal the status of a "heart healthy" health claim, and while this may hold true for the real-deal oats, its the on-the-go, pre-packaged and processed oats cousin that most Americans grab, which are not so great for the heart. Instant oatmeal is often loaded with sugar and unhealthy ingredients, and although regular oatmeal is healthier it's still heavy on the stomach. It's better to get the heart health benefits of oatmeal in supplement form with oat beta glucan, which is a type of fiber found in oat bran, oatmeal and rolled oats, and can be taken as a supplement in pill or powder form. The nutrient has been shown in many studies to improve cholesterol levels and lower triglycerides.

TRUE or FALSE: You can get all your omega-3s from just eating salmon.

FALSE: Eating salmon alone may not be enough to give you the boost you need from omega-3. You would need to eat it at least three times a week and even then wild salmon populations are struggling because of over-fishing for human demand. Krill oil supplements are a better way to get your daily omega-3s. It's the closest you can get the purest form of omega-3 without eating salmon, plus there are trillions of tiny little krill critters in the food supply chain making it a more sustainable option. Krill oil is rich in omega-3 DHA/EPA, is more digestible than omega-3 fish oil and pill size is smaller. The most studied krill oil is SuperbaKrill that has been shown to lower triglycerides by 10 percent and increase the omega-3 index by 70 percent.

TRUE or FALSE: Two glasses of red wine a day is good for heart health.

FALSE: You would actually need to drink 52 bottles of red wine a day to get the heart health benefits of resveratrol, a polyphenol found in the red wine. A better way to get resveratrol is in supplement form. There are virtually no side effects of taking a resveratrol supplement (even in large doses), plus it has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower LDL "bad" cholesterol and make it more difficult for blood clots to form that can lead to a heart attack. Most supplements contain 200-500 milligrams of resveratrol, but to get the dose used in most studies, take 2,000 or more milligrams per day.

TRUE or FALSE: Granola is loaded with sugar and has little or no heart health benefits.

TRUE: The oats, nuts and seeds of most granola grab-and-go foods are where you will find the heart-healthy benefits but the pitfall comes with the added calories, sugars and oils you don't need. Nuts and specifically almonds are great alternatives that will give you the crunch of granola, without the added calories and sugar. Almonds have been shown to lower LDL "bad" cholesterol and a study from Loma Linda School of Public Health show those who consume nuts five times a week have about a 50 percent reduction in risk of heart attack.
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