What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance produced by the liver and found in foods of animal origin. Too much saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet may increase blood cholesterol, and cause fat to be deposited in blood vessels. Excess fat can clog arteries, making it hard for blood to bring in oxygen and nutrients. This reduction or obstruction in the flow of blood can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Where is cholesterol found?
Cholesterol is found only in foods of animal origin. Fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, grains, and all other foods of plant origin do not contain cholesterol. Foods highest in cholesterol include organ meats and egg yolks.
Helpful Hints for Treating High Cholesterol
Adopt a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Your food choices have a major impact on your health.Make physical activity part of your daily routine. It helps lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. It can also help you to lose weight.Consume a diet that is high in fiber. Dietary fiber has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels. Increase fiber by using whole grain breads and cereals, fresh fruit, vegetables, and beans.Achieve a healthy weight. Weight loss can help lower LDL and triglyceride levels.
Ways to Reduce Cholesterol and Dietary Fat
Ø Drink skim milk. If you drink whole milk, wean yourself gradually to 2% to 1% to skim.
Ø Buy whole grain products.
Ø Choose lean meat, fish and poultry. Remove skin from chicken.
Ø Snack on fresh fruit, vegetables, plain popcorn, pretzels or rice cakes instead of fried chips and cookies.
Ø For dessert choose fruit, angel food cake, or sponge cake.
Ø Substitute low-fat frozen yogurt for ice cream. Try frozen fruit bars.
Ø Choose a vegetarian entrée at least once a week.
~Lori Hager, MS, RD