A Smart Heart Patient's Plan

At a young age, David Held found himself on Dr. Oz's operating table. After undergoing surgery to correct 5 blocked arteries, David has made a vow to himself and to his family: to adopt healthier eating habits and a healthier lifestyle. Find out how this self-proclaimed foodie is revolutionizing his health.

A Smart Heart Patient's Plan

Change Your Salt Consumption

Start using a coarse salt grinder. If you're used to tossing a handful into water that's boiling for pasta or generously shaking it over a completed meal, this simple switch will easily cut your salt consumption. By giving the grinder a quarter of a turn, you can still add salt to your food without an alarming amount of sodium. Increase flavor further with the use of spices: pepper, onion powder, garlic, Italian herbs. Cayenne pepper and ginger can even give your metabolism a boost, helping you burn calories faster!

Create David's baked unstuffed Tilapia at home and see how sacrificing salt does not equal sacrificing taste.

For more tips on lowering your salt intake, visit Dr. Oz's Salt Detox Challenge.

Lose the Yolk, Not the Taste

Salt isn't the only health-sabotaging ingredient in your meals. By cutting saturated fats and high cholesterol foods from your diet, you're guaranteed to increase your heart health. Saturated fats are most commonly found in animal products like meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, lard and butter. They can also be found in oils like coconut and palm. You don't have to cut meat entirely, but choose lean portions of white meat like chicken and turkey over red meat. Additionally, use egg whites over the yolks.

Lowering your cholesterol intake is dietary responsibility for all those diagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol and those predisposed to heart disease. Adding sources of soluble fiber, like oatmeal, kidney beans, apples, pears, psyllium, barley and prunes, and a handful of nuts per day, like almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts can also lower your LDL, or bad cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids and olive oil are also healthy dietary staples.

See how David put this rule into practice by adapting his matzo ball soup recipe to include spelt, egg substitute, skinless chicken and low-sodium chicken broth.

Get more tips for heart health in Dr. Oz's Healthy Heart Challenge.

Ditch the Beef

As stated earlier, red meat is high in saturated fats. Additionally, a diet high in red meat can raise your risk for certain cancers. Not only are most Americans consuming red meat several times a week, most are overindulging when it comes to serving size. A serving of protein should be no more than 3 ounces (85 grams). This translates to about the size of a deck of cards or roughly 1/4 the size of your dinner plate.

Dietary substitutions can easily be made without sacrificing taste. David substituted lean ground turkey for red meat in order to keep chili, meatloaf and burgers on the menu. Get his recipes here. If you want to take your dietary detox even further, take Dr. Oz's 28-Day Vegan Challenge.

Read more about David Held's journey on his blog and see all of his recipes here.

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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