Diet To Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol Lowering Diet (Part 1)
Three important risk factors for heart attack are: - high blood cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure) and excess body weight. Healthy cholesterol-reduced eating habits typically reduce all three risk factors. For example, it is possible to reduce the level of cholesterol in your blood by between 5 percent and 10 percent just by eating healthily. On average, reducing cholesterol by 1 percent can lower the risk of atherosclerosis by 2 percent.
Dietary Goals to Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
A healthy cholesterol lowering eating plan has four goals:
- To reduce total blood cholesterol
Dietary Guidelines for Lowering High Blood Cholesterol Levels
In general, eat a nutrient-dense diet containing foods from all food groups (fruits; vegetables; grains; dairy foods; meat, poultry, fish, seeds, nuts and beans; fats and oils). Include plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and choose lean meat (trimmed of all fat and skin), as well as low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Limit your total daily fat intake to 30 percent of calories, and reduce to a minimum your intake of saturates and trans-fats. Eat less than 6 grams of salt (sodium chloride) per day (2,400 milligrams of sodium).
1. Reduce Intake of Saturated Fat
This means reducing your intake of animal foods - most of which are major sources of saturated fat in the typical American diet. For example, butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, and cream all contain high amounts of saturated fat. Saturated fatty acids are also found in all meat, as well as poultry, fish, and shellfish, although the latter generally contain less saturates than meat.
2. Reduce Intake of Trans-Fats
The name "Trans-Fat" refers to any fat that starts as a polyunsaturated fat and is then "transformed" into saturated fat by a process called hydrogenation. It is also called hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat. The food industry uses hydrogenation to reduce rancidity, and to utilize cheaper fats. Latest medical evidence suggests that trans-fatty acids raise blood cholesterol even more than saturated fat. Trans-fats or hydrogenated fats are found in solid or semi-solid margarines, and in commercial cooking oils used in the manufacture of commercially baked goods, such as cookies and crackers, and in nondairy substitutes, such as whipped toppings, coffee creamers, cake mixes, and even frozen dinners. They also can be found in some snack foods like chips, candy bars, and buttered popcorn.
- When buying processed foods, especially
margarine or baked goods, study food labels carefully
3. Reduce Total Fat Intake
An important goal in your blood cholesterol-lowering diet is to reduce your total fat consumption, as this is an effective way to eat less saturated or trans-fats.
4. Reduce Intake of Dietary Cholesterol
Previously, dietitians and cardiologists believed that a key step towards reducing elevated cholesterol levels was to lower consumption of cholesterol-containing foods, like eggs and organ meats. While this remains a dietary goal, the reduction of trans-fat intake is now considered more important.
- Eat no more than four egg yolks a week
including those in processed foods and many baked goods.
More Information about Cholesterol Reduction
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