Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Foods That Are Good For Your Cholesterol

Plate of Food on a Table

We hear them preached everywhere, every time.. Eat good
cholesterol foods and reduce your figure. When it comes to
cholesterol, we all know that there are "good" ones and
"bad" ones, with HDL being the good type and LDL the bad
type. The problem is how to stick with the good one and get
rid of the bad one? It's a rather complicated subject, so
let's start..

Cholesterol is essential to human life, but high levels in
the bloodstream are associated with heart disease and
stroke. Specifically, high levels of LDL and low levels of
HDL are dangerous. LDL becomes hardened and forms plaque
that builds up in the arteries, slowing blood flow. HDL has
the ability to gather up excessive amounts of LDL and carry
it back to the liver.

We don't exactly eat HDL or LDL, it forms in the body. Some
of the foods that we eat do contain cholesterol, such as
eggs, dairy and animal fat. Plant oils and fats contain a
cholesterol-like substance called phytosterols. They help
lower blood cholesterol levels. Saturated and trans-fats
contribute to high LDL, as do simple carbohydrates, such as
sugar and white flour.

In general, good cholesterol foods are foods coming from
plants, because of the phytosterol they contain. Most animal
meats are not good when it comes to cholesterol, except fish
(especially deep sea fish) because they contain Omega-3
fats, which are found in canola oil as well.

One good plan to control LDL levels is including a lot of
vegetables, fruits, whole grain foods (such as oatmeal) and
fish into your daily diet. One daily bowl of oatmeal has
been shown to reduce LDL levels.

It's a healthy decision to use olive or canola oil when you
cook or bake, rather than lard or saturated fat. It has been
determined that eating certain nuts decrease risk of heart
disease. So, eat some of them every day when you can:
hazelnuts, walnut, almonds, pecans, pistachios and peanut.
An ounce a day is recommended, provided you're not allergic
to them, of course.

Another thing you can try is replacing your coffee or soda
with green tea. Green tea has many benefits related with
health, and one of them is its LDL lowering capability. If
you can't stand the original taste of green tea, don't use
processed sugar. Use honey or raw cane sugar instead.

Try taking lots of different antioxidants in your daily
diet. When cholesterol in your body becomes oxidized, they
form hard plaques in the arteries, which are very dangerous.
Antioxidants such as green tea, vegetables and fruits help
preventing this process from happening.

If you have to eat meat or poultry, make them lean cuts.
When you have to take dairy products, make sure to choose
reduced fat products made with skim or low-fat milk.

All in all, it's not difficult at all to switch from your
regular diet to good cholesterol foods. It's just a matter
of taking the right decision on what you eat.

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