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Cholesterol Check

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Too much cholesterol in your blood can raise the risk of having a heart attack. Here are some tips on what you should eat to cut down on cholesterol intake.

Fruits and vegetables are low in saturated fat, and by themselves, have no cholesterol. So aim to eat as much of them as possible. Normally we tend to grab a packet of chips or something more easily accessible when we feel like munching something, so aim to make fruits more accessible. Simply cut a few fruits in bite sized pieces and put them in the fridge in a large platter or in individual small bowls. If you can put a few toothpicks in the fruit pieces in each small bowl, that's even better! The next time anyone in your family feels hungry and opens the fridge, it will be the easiest thing for them to just grab a fruit bowl and eat up!

Also, invest in a large fruit bowl and fill it up with easy to eat fruits like bananas, apples and oranges. Display this in your kitchen or on the dining room table so that anyone can grab them when they feel like a snack.

Once or twice a week, make it a point to serve everyone raw vegetables like carrots and cucumber, with low-fat dip. Bring this out in the evenings or when watching television. Needless to say it is far healthier to snack on carrots and dip than it is to snack on chips and dip!

Another great low-cholesterol and non-fat snack is popcorn. Although popcorn has little food value, it fills you up and doesn't cause any harm. If you are watching your sodium intake, look for low sodium or low salt varieties.

Egg yolks are very high in cholesterol, but that doesn't mean you should not eat them at all. However, limit your intake of yolks to no more than 4 a week, and this includes yolks in cakes and other dishes. If your cholesterol levels are already high, don't eat egg yolk. Eat only egg white. Egg white omelets come out fluffy, and are healthiest when cooked using very little olive oil.

Substitute regular milk with low-fat or. Such milk has all the calcium and other nutrients found in regular milk, without the fat. Similarly, instead of using regular sugar, try and switch to natural sugar.

Don't give up oil totally. A certain amount of oil is good for the body. It is only when oil intake gets excessive, and when you eat the wrong kind of oil, that there is a problem. Eat a couple of spoons of ghee a day by way of using it in your food or applying it on your chapatti, try and do all your cooking in olive oil. You should be fine!
Get your cholesterol levels tested regularly.

Remember that all it takes to reduce cholesterol levels is just a little basic dietary care, and regular exercise. You don't have to give up your favourite foods; just eat them less often. Similarly, substitute non-fat milk when making puddings, purchase low-fat ice cream. Also, counter the damage by eating fibre rich foods like oats, wheat bread and apples.
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