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Monday, June 13, 2011

Reducing Cholesterol for Improved Heart Health

What do you know about heart health?  Did you know your blood lipid profile numbers, like your cholesterol, have something to say about you heart health? Did you know that what you eat plays an important role in improving your heart health?   These are things you should know about to be able to assess your overall heart health.

Heart disease is in the top 5 causes for death for men and women and it is largely preventable! This gives Americans hope that we can make a difference and avoid this high risk disease. Know your risk by learning your blood levels of cholesterol, lipoproteins, and triglycerides. 

Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the liver and supplied to the diet through animal food sources like meat, poultry, eggs, etc.  Your body needs some cholesterol to function normally, but too much can cause a build up in your arteries which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. 

Here are a few tips to help you lower your cholesterol-raising fats that are currently in your diet:
  • Use low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese, and sour cream rather than full fat varieties
  • Limit foods that contain hydrogenated vegetable oils or tropical oils such as palm kernel and coconut oils
  • Select lean beef and pork, poultry with the skin removed, or fish instead of fatty meats or sausages
  • Eat tofu, nuts and legumes for meatless meals
  • Choose foods that are baked, broiled or steamed instead of fried
  • Substitute liquid oils for shortening, butter, stick margarine, lard or other solid fats
  • Top salads with low-fat or fat free salad dressing options
  • Choose vegetable or broth based soups more often than cream based soups
  • Read and compare saturated fat, trans fat and dietary cholesterol on food label while at the grocery store

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