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What to Eat with Heart Disease and Diabetes

Q: I recently had open-heart surgery. My type 2 diabetes caused my heart disease. In the hospital, I was told to concentrate on eating to control my diabetes and my heart problems. With diabetes and heart disease, what can I eat?

A: It's good to know your diabetes meal plan also benefits your heart. General nutrition recommendations for diabetes management include controlling portion sizes, limiting consumption of saturated and trans fats and cholesterol, and setting reasonable goals for your total amount of carbohydrates. These smart eating steps can help you achieve a more healthful body weight, as well as help control blood glucose and cholesterol levels -- all good for heart health.

You may not have retained all of the information you were given at the hospital. The effect of pain medications and being overwhelmed with postoperative recovery often limits what a person can remember during this time. For this reason, seek an outpatient consultation with a dietitian who is also a certified diabetes educator. The dietitian can help you come up with a meal plan that fits your preferences and lifestyle. You may be pleasantly surprised that you can still enjoy most of your favorite foods in moderation.

Virginia Zamudio Lange, a member of Diabetic Living's editorial advisory board, is a founding partner of Alamo Diabetes Team, LLP in San Antonio.

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