Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Low Cholesterol Diets - Lower Your Cholesterol

A lot of products on the shelves of your local superstore claim to help control cholesterol levels. There are advertisements in magazines and on TV recommending people visit their GP’s surgery for a cholesterol check and extolling the virtues of a low cholesterol diet.

That’s all fine and good, but often people are left wondering what it all means. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that naturally occurs in the human body – your liver creates it as it is a necessary component of normal digestive processes. It is also found in a lot of the foods we eat, including fish, poultry, meats, dairy products and even some plants.

If your GP has recommended you lower your cholesterol, it is important to adapt your diet in order to lower the LDL cholesterol. It is also important that your low cholesterol diet doesn’t cut the LDL at the expense of maintaining a healthy level of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. Fortunately, there are easy dietary changes you can make to improve your overall cholesterol levels.
Out with the bad
To reduce the level of LDL, or bad, cholesterol, the first thing you need to do is cut back on foods that are full of it. Start by reducing the amount of saturated fat you’re eating – these include full-fat dairy products, butter, cream, fatty red meats, pastries, many takeaways and fried foods. If you use oil, choose one that’s monounsaturated, such as olive oil. Also, it’s helpful if you can decrease the amount of sodium you’re getting every day and remember that if you drink alcohol, you should stick to sensible limits (3 or 4 units a day for men, 2 or 3 units a day for women).

In with the good
To help maintain a healthy level of good cholesterol and help your body reduce the bad cholesterol you’ve got, try making these simple changes to your diet:

1. Increase your daily servings of fruit and veg to get at least the recommended five a day – fruit and vegetables are lower in fat and calories than anything else.

2. Aim to eat more high-fibre foods, such as wholemeal bread, wholegrain cereals, brown rice and wholewheat pasta.

3. Try swapping your ordinary yogurt or fruit smoothie for one made with soya - there is a reasonable amount of research supporting the notion that soya products can work to reduce the bad cholesterol in your blood.

4. Swap your fats – wherever possible, trade saturated fats for monounsaturates. Monounsaturates work not only to lower your LDL cholesterol, but they help maintain healthy levels of HDL cholesterol.

5. Eat at least one helping of oily fish each week – oil fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, pilchards and kippers, are high in omega-3 fats, which are important for a healthy heart.

6. Try to get more soluble fibre – this is found in beans, lentils, peas, oats, and barley as well as some fruits and vegetables. Researchers think that soluble fibre binds with cholesterol and prevents it from being reabsorbed into your bloodstream, thus lowering the amount of cholesterol in the blood.

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