Sunday, December 03, 2006

12 ways to beat cholesterol, the hidden danger..

Just came back from K.L. and the decorations at Midvalley were just great. Makes me feel like Gretel in the fairy tale.

I am pretty much aware about cholesterol and the danger it brings nowadays. It can be FATAL. Well, of course all of you know that. Start taking precautions while you are still young as your organs are still working at its most efficient level.

An article from Quaker Cholesterol Information Bureau which is a public education initiative established to raise awareness of cholesterol and the risks associated with it. The Bureau is made up of a panel of health and medical professionals.

Cholesterol. You can't see it, hear it or feel it. It won't make you feel sick. You will probably feel fine but it is a hidden danger.

If you are living a high cholesterol lifestyle your cholesterol level may currently be too high or it may become high in the future, increasing your risk of heart disease. High blood cholesterol levels are not limited to overweight people but can affect anyone. Even fit people can have high blood cholesterol!

Cholesterol is a fatty-like, waxy, yellowy substance that comes from two sources: blood/serum cholesterol manufactured mainly by the liver which is necessary to help carry fats to parts of the body that need fat for energy and repairs, or fat for storage. The other source is dietary cholesterol, absorbed from foods of animal origin such as red meat, poultry, fish, cheese, eggs, milk and ice-cream. If a food comes from a source that walks or swims, it has cholesterol.

The main influence on cholesterol is saturated fat (found in animal foods such as dairy products and meat).

Over a period of time cholesterol builds up in the walls of the arteries forming plaque. This plaque can eventually block arteries and rob the surrounding tissue of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to stay healthy. When this happens in the blood vessels leading to the heart, a heart attack can occur.

The statement below will indicate whether you may be living a high cholesterol lifestyle. Tick the boxes if they apply to you.

THE FOOD YOU BUY
( ) You buy butter and other whole-fat dairy products such as whole milk and cheese
( ) You eat a lot of steaks, chops and meat
( ) You always eat the skin on chicken and the fat off the meat

THE WAY YOU LIVE
( ) You've been putting off losing those extra pounds of weight
( ) You don't make time to exercise regularly
( ) You've never had your cholesterol checked - has it been five years or more since you last test?

THE FOOD YOU EAT
( ) You eat a lot of fried food
( ) You like food with gravy and sauces
( ) When eating out, you choose food for taste - not your health

The more boxes you ticked, the greater your risk of having high cholesterol. You will benefit greatly if you follow this guide for low cholesterol living. Controlling cholesterol should be a daily effort, starting in the morning and ending at night. Diet and exercise are important daily considerations.

FOLLOW THIS GUIDE TO LOW CHOLESTEROL LIVING

1. CHECK YOUR RESULTS
Have your cholesterol level tested by your family doctor and know what your cholesterol level is. A small blood sample is taken and checked immediately or sent to a lab. Your doctor can measure your lipoprotein levels to more accurately determine your risk of heart disease.

Less than 200: Congratulations! Your total cholesterol level should be less than 200. Your goal should be to maintain your cholesterol at this desirable level by following the stepsin this guide for low cholesterol living. You need to have it checked every five years at this level.

200-239-BORDERLINE HIGH: Because you may be at increased risk for heart disease, have a follow-up test to confirm the results. Begin to lower your cholesterol to "desirable"by changing your diet and following the guide below.

240 or higher-HIGH: Because you are at increased risk for heart disease see your family doctor right away for a test that includes total, HDL, and LDL levels.Begin to lower your cholesterol by following the steps in this guide.

2. CHANGING YOUR DIET
Eat less fat - your goal is to limit fats to one-third of your total calories. Avoid obvious fats such as butter and hidden fats in processed food.

Eat more fibre - Soluble fibre lowers your cholesterol level by keeping the cholesterol you eat from being absorbed by the body. Oats, beans and fruit are rich in soluble fibre.

Eat less cholesterol - limit your intake of high cholesterol food such as eggs and meat from all animals, eapecially organ meats.

Eat more starches (complex carbohydrates) - Starches aren't fattening and can lower your cholesterol level by diluting the fat you eat. Eat more starches such as grains, beans, rice and root vegetables.

3. PICK YOUR FATS WISELY
Fats can be divided into three types; monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated. Your goal is to choose less saturated fat and use monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats instead.

Monounsaturated fat - vegetable sources such as olive and rape seed oil (canola)

Polyunsaturated fat - vegetable sources such as safflower, sunflower or corn oil. Many margerines are high in polyunsaturated fat.

Saturated fat - Avoid animal sources such as butter and meat. Vegetable sources are coconut, and 'partially hydrogenated' oils found in many processed foods.

4. SHOP FOR THE BEST FOODS
Changing your diet begins with making changes in what you buy at the supermarket or market in your weekly shopping. With a little practice, you can develop skills for picking the right fats, reading labels and making good selections whilst shopping for the family.

Poultry (no skin), fish and seafood and lean cuts of meat, are good low-fat choices.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are practically fat-free and contain no cholesterol.

Starchy foods such as potatoes, yams, grains, breads and cereals are all good choices. Beans and oats can help lower your cholesterol. Choose low-fat food products containing these ingredients.

Frozen desserts such as low fat ice-cream and low fat frozen yoghurt are good low-fat choices.

5. READ THE LABELS TO FIND THE FAT
The best way to find the fat in processed food is to read the labels. Ask yourself the following three questions to help you choose products that are low in fat, especially saturated fat.


  1. Is fat a major ingredient? The label lists all ingredients by weight so check for fat on the label - milk fats, milk solids, cream.
  2. Do too many calories come from fat? Each gram of fat is worth 9 calories. Check to see whether the total calories of fat do not exceed one-third of the total calories in the product.
  3. Is the serving size in the can/packet appropriate? When keeping track of fat, use a serving size that is close to what you really eat.

Beware of labels that state 'no cholesterol'. They may still be high in fat or oil.

6. LOW FAT COOKING
These cooking techniques can lower fat while keeping the flavour

  • Microwave, boil, grill, bake or steam food without adding fat
  • Use non-stick sprays or cookware
  • Remove extra fat from meat and skin from chicken before cooking
  • Use seasonings creatively - sprinkle low-salt herbal blends on meats. There are many wonderful herbs to use which replace salt and fat.
  • Use low fat dressings and light oil dressings
  • Try some low-fat, low-cholesterol, substitutes - vegetable oil instead of butter or ghee and use less, substitute margarine for butter and use less.

7. SMALLER PORTIONS
If you need to lose weight, reduce calories by serving food on the plates and immediately putting leftovers away

  • Use a smaller plate - it looks fuller
  • Eat at a table, not in front of the TV - you'll then pay attention to how much you are eating

8. EATING WELL WHILE EATING OUT
When eating out choose food that keeps your cholesterol under control. Be assertive and ask for food to be prepared in healthy ways - most restaurants will accomodate your requests.

9. WATCH YOUR WEIGHT
If you weigh too much your body stores more fat and cholesterol. This may cause your blood cholesterol to rise. Fat has more calories (9 per gram) than protein (4 per gram) adn carbohydrates (4 per gram). The quickest way to lose weight is to limit total calories and reduce the amount of fat in your diet.

10. EXERCISE REGULARLY
A regular exercise program can raise your HDL (good cholesterol) level and can also help you lose weight. Try to exercise at least four times a week for at least half an hour each time. It is wise to check with your doctor first before embarking on an execise program if you are over 40 and not a regular exerciser.

11. GENETIC FACTORS
A small number of people have an inherited tendency to have a high blood cholesterol level. Inherited genetic disorders contributing to a high blood cholesterol level can inhibit a person's ability to lower cholesterol by diet. In this case, or in the case of a family history of heart attacks, consult your doctor.

12. STOP SMOKING
Smoking lowers your HDL (good cholesterol) and increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer.

1 wrote a note:

Low Cholesterol Foods said...

[...]Low Cholesterol Foods. When you first learned that your cholesterol level is too high, you might start to imagine the illnesses you will have to suffer if you cannot reduce the cholesterol level in your blood[...]