Your doctor glares at you after looking at your cholesterol test results. “Your cholesterol is high,” he scowls. Just what exactly is “high?” you ask yourself.
Doctors always seem to use those nondescriptive words. You don’t know if your cholesterol level is dangerously high or just mildly elevated. And just that little bit of knowledge will probably make a difference in how drastically you change your diet.
Too much cholesterol in your blood greatly increases your risk of heart disease and strokes, according to many doctors. So, if your cholesterol levels fall in the “high” or “borderline” categories, it might be time to change your diet.
Cutting out some of the fat and cholesterol in your diet can reduce your disease by as much as 15 percent, which will cut your risk of heart disease by as much as 30 percent, say some studies.
Follow these simple cooking tips to lower the amount of fat and cholesterol in your diet:
Cut down on the “bad” fats in your diet —-saturated fats.
- Take the skin off your poultry before cooking, and trim the fat off beef and pork
- Drink skim milk or low-fat milk.
- Eat low-fat cheeses.
- Carefully read labels on cream substitutes. Sometimes they are made with palm oils or coconut oils, which are high in saturated fats.
- Avoid candy, nuts and chips when snacking. Eat pretzels, fruits and air-popped popcorn instead.
- Check your labels for saturated fats. These include coconut and palm oils, beef fat, lard and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Increase the amount of “good” fats in your diet – unsaturated fats.
- Use soft margarine high in unsaturated or dehydrogenated fats.
- Make your own sauces and dressings using oils that are high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats.
- Cook, fry and bake with oils that are high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats, such as safflower oil, sunflower seed oil and corn oil.
- Cut back on the amount of cholesterol in your diet.
- Eat less organ meats such as liver, kidneys and brains.
- Where possible, cook only with the egg whites and not the whole egg (the yolk is high in cholesterol)
- Avoid fast foods and other retail baked goods that are high in cholesterol.
- Eat more water-soluble fiber such as fruit, legumes and bran.
To get a better idea of what many doctors currently consider high and mildly elevated, look at the following table.
Risk———- Total Cholesterol———HDL (good) ———–LDL (bad)
High—————above 240—————— less than 35————— above 160
Good—————below 200——————above 45—————— below 130
Postgraduate Medicine (87, 2:63)