Cholesterol is one of the lipid components measured in the blood. This measurement is a reflection of how your body metabolizes it. The common practice today is to get a lipid profile. This measures all the components of the lipids in your blood. This includes total cholesterol, HDL (High Density Lipoprotein), LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) and triglycerides. HDL is the “good cholesterol” as this is responsible for clearing up the “bad cholesterol” (LDL) in the blood. A low HDL means less clearing capacity. High LDL is bad because this cholesterol gets deposited in arteries leading to atherosclerosis (hardening).
It is important to correct any abnormal lipid components as each has been highly associated with heart disease and brain stroke. An abnormal triglyceride level or any of the other cholesterol components are now considered part of what is now called lifestyle disease or the Metabolic Syndrome. Medical experts found that these factors, combined with a sedentary lifestyle or lack of physical activity, make a person a very likely candidate for heart attack or brain stroke.
HABITS TO CONTROL HIGH CHOLESTEROL AND DIET
The amount and type of fat in your diet are the most important considerations. Beware of hidden fats! When using oil for cooking, the high cholesterol containing butter or lard should be avoided. Substitute butter or lard with margarine or simple oils like olive, canola or soya bean in minimal quantities. As a general rule, oils that remain liquid even in cold environment are the best to use. Animal sources of fat are a NO-NO.
Please avoid foods high in cholesterol such as:
- Eggs (limit intake to two per week)
- Internal organs of animals (kidney, liver, brains, intestines, etc.)
- Sea foods such as prawns and lobsters
- Processed meat like sausage, bacon, salami, meat loaf, and the like
- Hidden fat is also found in dairy products like full cream or whole milk, cheese and all-time favorite cakes, chocolates and ice cream
- Fast food delis like fish and chips, hamburger, fried chicken and French fries are oozing with oil and fat
- Snack foods such as potato or corn chips and pop corn are also high in fat and should be limited. REMINDER: Make these only as an occasional treat.
When preparing food, choose lean cuts of red meat and trim all visible fat before cooking. Remove skin from chicken before cooking. Eat more fish-steamed, grilled or marinated but not fried. Foods rich in fiber are the best choice. Examples are cereals, fruits and vegetables. If you are overweight, total food intake should be reduced. A vegetarian diet is the best option for you. Also, encourage your whole family to make the changes in the diet with you, so you will not be tempted to revert back to your previous diet.
Since this is a lifestyle disease, diet is not the only part that needs to be changed; Regular exercise and active physical activities should be part of the treatment as well.
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