More on cholesterol

There are a lot of myths revolving around reducing cholesterol levels. As non vegetarian food are high in saturated fats, they do tend to increase the cholesterol levels. Although many non vegetarians are switching to vegetarianism, I have encountered a good number of such people who are still having poor lipid profiles. They believe that switching over to vegetarianism will prevent cholesterol problems. To some extend it may help but if the vegetarian diets consist of fried foods, vegetarian pizza with cheese, pickles, coated vegetables deep fried in oil, then these can cause trouble. Hence to lower cholesterol you will need to cut down on various foods. Non vegetarian food are not the only culprit.

If your cholesterol level is above 200mg/dl, you simply needto cut out the intake of all foods rich in cholesterol, along with all foods rich in fat content- fatty foods. You certainly can not give up these foods for the rest of your lives but you must try to give it up completely for at least a three month period. If during this period you continue to indulge in them once or twice a week the cholesterol level will not go up but will not go down either. It will be maintained.

So if you need to cut down on saturated fats, we need to first understand which at and which foods have a very high fat content like deep fried food, pickles, nuts etc. In order to affectively lower cholesterol levels you need to reduce intake of foods high in cholesterol and control intake of total fat consumption per day.

First of all let’s deal with foods with very high cholesterol content. Non-veg foods like organ meats, liver, brain, kidney, shrimp (small prawns) egg yolk, mutton, beef, pork, cream of milk (whole milk) ice-cream, butter,ghee, cheese and paneer, contain fat of animal origin and all these fats contain cholesterol. These are concentrated sources of cholesterol.

Hydrogenated margarines or butter substitutes and other solid fats that we use to make bakery items like cookies, biscuits and cakes, puffs and pastries are also dangerous. So go easy on any substitutes for butter. The label of the fat substitutes will read as zero cholesterol content. This is true as they are made from vegetable fats which do not contain cholesterol. However this does not mean zero fat. One teaspoon fat substitute and one teaspoon ghee will both give you 45 calories. Hence they will contain the same amount of calories but minus the saturated fats for the latter.

Switch over to skimmed milk rather than full cream milk and egg whites rather than yolks can cut down your cholesterol intake.

A couple of marie biscuits or crackers is all that you may have with tea but any other biscuits or cookies must be avoided. A slice of whole wheat bread is an option too.

A total amount of 2-3 teaspoons oil may be used daily to season dhals, vegetables etc. Avoid using coconut oil in excess, try to use not more than a teaspoon per day for seasoning.

There is nothing as such as cholesterol free oil. Oils made from plant sources are devoid of cholesterol.

A few myths busted can help us to go closer to hearty health.

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Sanjana Shenoy

About Sanjana Shenoy

A dietitian from Mangalore, India. A post graduate diploma holder in “Dietetics” and a university topper from Welcomgroup School of Hotel Administration from the prestigious Manipal University. At present working as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. Consultant for corporates like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows.

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