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Reducing Cholesterol

Por Ana C. López, Nutrition Counselor, MyDiet™ -
Reducing Cholesterol

High levels of cholesterol in the blood lead to a significant risk for developing cardiovascular diseases. Following a healthy diet, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, is essential for maintaining proper control of cholesterol levels. 

Keeping cholesterol at normal levels is a way to prevent future complications such as heart attack and stroke.

For a long time it was thought that cholesterol levels in the blood were mainly determined by the amount of cholesterol in a person's diet. But we now know that it is more important to limit saturated fats because they are the main cause of high cholesterol levels. This does not mean, however, that cholesterol itself is unimportant; but rather, by reducing the amount of saturated fat in our diets, we're automatically reducing cholesterol. Usually both of these are found in the same types of foods.

A healthy recommendation for controlling cholesterol levels is to follow a diet that has:

o       The right kind of calories to maintain a healthy weight.

o       No more than 7% of the total calories from saturated fat.

o       Less than 200 mg of cholesterol a day.

o       25 to 35% of the total calories coming from fats, especially vegetable fats. Make sure not to consume  trans fats .

In addition, it's essential to lead a  healthy lifestyle that includes a regular workout routine. In some cases, it is necessary to recur to medical treatment with drugs to improve your cholesterol levels.

If you're wondering, "How can I decrease the amount of saturated fat in my diet?" These substitutions will help you achieve it:

If you want to eat...

...choose:

Chicken

Skinless chicken

Meat

Lean cuts

Milk or yogurt

Skim/ low-fat (2%) milk or low-fat yogurt

Cheese

Low-fat cheeses

Breakfast cereals

Whole grain breakfast cereals or cereals high in fiber

Bread

Whole grain bread

Something sweet

Fruits

A refreshing snack

Snacks made from fresh vegetables

Eggs

No more than 1 a day or 3 a week

Seafood

Fish, --eat other shellfish in moderation because they are high in cholesterol.

In addition, be sure to check the solidity of the fats you use for cooking. Fats that are soft or in liquid form at room temperature such as  margarine  and vegetable oils (except for coconut and palm oil) are low in saturated fats and usually don't contain cholesterol. On the other hand, fats that are in solid at room temperature, such as animal fat or coconut and palm oil, contain a high level of saturated fats, so it's best to avoid them.

By following these tips, you'll realize that it's not hard to eat healthy and control your cholesterol level. Remember to practice all the basic components: diet,  exercise  and, if necessary, seek medical treatment.

 

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