I was walking (my attempt at exercise) with my girlfriend the other day and she mentioned she has a cholesterol problem. My friend Roberta is tall, thin and model looking and she has my dream body, but enough of that and let's get to her cholesterol. Her HDL is high and her LDL is high. What does that mean? Means the girl is doing fine. If your HDL is above 55 (Roberta's was well into the 70's) then it's heart healthy and it is protecting you against the LDL. (I'm not a doctor and my information is from my research only.) In this blog I am going to give you info on all the terms (in layman's terms: simple and understandable) you have ever wanted to know and from that you will be able to make you own informed decision.
Cholesterol is needed by our bodies because it helps in the building of cells and produces certain hormones. Your body makes cholesterol and does not need any other form of dietary help.
Fat is important in the human body because that is how we get our energy. There are many types of fat:
Polyunsaturated Fat: Essential fatty acids that our body does not make. These are fats that help in lowering cholesterol and can be easily found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.
Saturated Fat: Increases cholesterol and type two diabetes. Vegans can find this product in palm and coconut oil (The jury is still out on this product. We hear it's heart healthy and then the next day we hear it's bad for you, in the meantime keep this product to 22 grams or below or 10% of your total calorie intake if you use it.) As a hairdresser I recommend coconut oil to my clients as a deep moisturizer for their hair. Saturate (no pun intended) your hair with solid coconut oil and wrap a warm towel (right out of the dryer) around the saturated hair and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse, shampoo, condition and do it again every week. Your welcome.
Unsaturated Fat: The good guys. Liquid at room temperature and it is found in olive and vegetable oils. Though not liquid, nuts are also a good source of unsaturated fat.
Monounsaturated Fats: This product raises the HDL (good) and lowers the LDL (bad) cholesterol in your system. Products to try are canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, nuts, seeds, avocado (guacamole) and hummus.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The superstars!!!! Omega's help in blood clotting and lowering blood pressure and triglycerides. Good products to try are soy and walnuts.
Trans Fat: The bad guys, stay away!!! Trans fats increase the total cholesterol and lower the HDL. This product is everywhere and manufacturers can claim that the product is trans fat free if it contains less than 1/2 a gram per serving. This product can add up so look to see if the following ingredients are listed: hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated or shortening. If you see them, run.
Where are trans fat found?: French fries, anything battered, pie crusts, margarine sticks, shortening, cake mixes, frosting, pancake and waffle mixes, canned chili, cookies, crackers, biscuits and sweet rolls, breakfast sandwiches, frozen or creamy beverages, Asian crunch noodles, fried chicken (vegan style and carcass style), frozen tv dinners, ice cream, non-dairy creamers, microwave popcorn that is not plain, packaged puddings and in carcass.
So much easier to be vegan!!!
Some substitutions to help you out:
Instead of: croutons in salad add walnuts, instead of cocktails drink red wine, instead of crackers try edamame, nuts, veggies or seeds. Skip the salad dressing and try vinegar and lemon juice.
My suggestion is too keep to no more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol a day.
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