Many Americans are lowering their cholesterol level, quitting smoking, watching their blood pressure, and becoming more active. To us at the American Heart Association, this is gratifying because it means that many people are reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke. It means more Americans will have healthy hearts that last a lifetime. Do you have high blood cholesterol? Has your doctor recommended that you eat less fat? If so, you've come to the right place. This new AHA Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook has it all. The recipes on these pages are simply scrumptious. Consider the bliss of sinking your teeth into Crab Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce, Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Ricotta and Goat Cheese, and Mango Brulee with Pine Nuts. You'll find they can all be part of healthful, low-fat eating. You may want to start with our handy assessment tool designed to help you determine how much fat you're eating now (see "First, Look at the Way You're Eating Now," on page 9). Then you can easily see the changes you'll want to make so you can follow your doctor's advice. You'll also discover what foods to eat; how to shop for low-fat, low-cholesterol foods; and how to cook them in the heart-healthiest way. Plus, you'll find encouragement for your weight-loss efforts. We even have information on how to eat out in all kinds of restaurants, have fun, and still choose dishes that will do your heart good. In the appendixes, you'll learn how your body handles cholesterol. You'll also see why a low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol way of eating is so important. Dr. Scott M. Grundy, one of the foremost lipid specialists in this country and one of the AHA's most eminent science volunteers, has updated the chapter on cholesterol-lowering drugs with the latest scientific knowledge. Some of you won't be able to reduce your cholesterol to a safe level with diet alone. For you, this section will be vital. If you're using this cookbook as an aid in developing a new help-your-heart eating plan, take a look at the Step I and Step II Diets on pages 12 through 14. On the other hand, if you just want to add to your repertoire of low-fat, low-cholesterol recipes, turn to page 31. Whatever your goal, we hope this cookbook will give you many hours of delicious eating and many more years with a healthy heart. THE LOWDOWN ON HIGH CHOLESTEROL Chances are you bought this cookbook because your doctor said you need to lower your cholesterol level. We think that's good advice. Why? Because research has shown clearly that too much cholesterol in your blood can lead to heart disease, America's number-one killer. Despite all our advances in preventing and treating heart disease, it still claims more than 950,000 lives a year. The fact is, about 13.7 million people currently living in the United States have coronary heart disease and almost 4 million have had a stroke. Millions more are at risk of heart attack and stroke and don't even know it. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), slightly more than 77 percent of all middle-aged American men are at increased risk of dying from heart disease. Now for the good news: You can cut your risk of heart disease dramatically by reducing your blood cholesterol level. You can do that by cutting down on saturated fat* and cholesterol in your diet. In fact, physicians and scientists say that the best ways to improve your heart health are to lower your cholesterol level and quit smoking. In 1985, Oxford University's Richard Peto said, "We know two things about how to prevent death in middle age: smoking and cholesterol. Each of those two things is responsible for about one third of all deaths in middlAmerican Heart Association Staff is the author of 'American Heart Association Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook' with ISBN 9780345461827 and ISBN 0345461827.