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The low Cholesterol diet
A diagnosis of high cholesterol can be a very scary thing. After all, high cholesterol is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and heart attack. But there is something you can do today, right now, to help lower your cholesterol without medication: Improve your diet.
A diet that is low in total fat—especially saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol—is technically a low-cholesterol diet. Ideally, that means your daily fat intake should be less than 35 percent of your total calories. When choosing fat sources in your diet, it is best to choose fats that are polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. Moderate use of these help protect the heart by increasing the level of “good” HDL cholesterol in your blood.
Cholesterol: We get cholesterol from two sources: what the body produces and what we get from the foods we eat. Cholesterol only comes from foods of animal origin, such as meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products. Try to limit your dietary cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams per day.
Saturated fats: Fats that are solid at room temperature are typically saturated. Saturated fats raise your cholesterol more than anything else in your diet. Seven percent or less of your total calories should come from saturated fats. These fats are found in animal products and in some plant products. Animal sources of saturated fats include egg yolks, cheese, butter, cream, whole milk, ice cream, fatty meats, and poultry skin. Plant sources include coconut oil, palm kernel oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter.
Unsaturated fats: There are two major kinds of unsaturated fats: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Studies indicate that both of these fats help lower cholesterol when substituted for saturated and trans fats. Good sources of polyunsaturated fats are safflower, sunflower, corn, and soybean oil. The major vegetable oil sources of monounsaturated fats are olive, canola, and peanut oil. Use a moderate amount of unsaturated fats to keep your total fat intake low.
Trans fats: Fats such as margarines and shortenings are hydrogenated and are called trans fats. Hydrogenation is a process that changes liquid oils to a solid or semisolid form. Recent research has indicated that trans fats are similar to saturated fats and also raise your cholesterol, so use them sparingly. Look for trans-fat-free margarines and shortening. You can also use tub margarines that are semisolid and have less trans fat than stick margarine.