by Christel Swasey
It Can Be Done
Adopting a low-cholesterol diet and increasing one’s exercise routines can dramatically improve cholesterol levels, regardless of whether the individual’s dangerous cholesterol levels are due to genetics or diet. It works, and it can be done!
Add a little more exercise. Just a bit helps your body, even if it’s just a small increase from what you did the day before, or last year. And exercise is not just for people with extra chubb. Even people who are already at an acceptable weight need to exercise if they want to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
The difficulty of the workout does not matter as much as the length of the exercise. Thirty or more minutes a day are beneficial whether you spend them doing extreme Zumba or walking around the neighborhood. Do something you enjoy so you’ll keep it up.
An encouraging finding of one study was that the positive effects of exercise was faster in subjects with the highest levels of cholesterol. So, the worse off someone may be, the more he/she could benefit from just beginning to exercise.
Decreasing your cholesterol intake can be tricky. The recommendation is less than 7% of daily calories from saturated fat, and less than 200 mg of cholesterol. But it can be done. Choose to eat more vegetables and fruits and whole grains, and less meat, fewer eggs (especially yolks) and fewer solid fats (liquid fats, also called unsaturate fats, are best).
Here are some practical low-cholesterol diet ideas for real life situations:
- On a road trip, bring vegetables, fruits and whole grains in the cooler.
- At the drive-through, choose a bean burrito over a cheesy bean or meat-based burrito.
- At the diner, choose egg-white veggie omelettes over sausuage and fried eggs.
- At the ice cream parlor, choose sorbet, sherbet or low fat frozen yogurt over milk and cream based ice creams.
- At the gas station, choose nuts, pretzels, fruit or raisins over hot dogs, cheese fries, or jerky.
- In the grocery store, load up on the veggies and fruits that you actually love and will eat.
- When baking, replace saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats. Use liquid vegetable oil or trans fat-free margarine. Use just the egg whites and toss the yolks.\
- Go meatless a few days a week. When you do eat meat, drain the fat from the pans and trim the fat from the meats before you cook them.
- Wherever you go, avoid foods made with hydrogenated vegetable oils and increase your fiber (which lowers cholesterol) by eating more veggies, fruits and whole grains.
- Try new protein sources that are cholesterol-free: (I’ve included recipe links)
- almond butter for your whole grain toast:
- tofu lasagna
- split pea chowder
- walnut pesto
- chickpea dip
- black bean soup
- butter bean cookies
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