Introduction To Good Fat? Bad Fat?
When trying to lower high cholesterol, eating habits can be confusing. You may think and hope you aren’t eating food that worsens the condition. Good fat versus bad fat can be a tough decision to make.
Genetics play an important role in our heart health but an unhealthy diet is a leading contributor to heart diseases and cholesterol. Saturated fat can raise the levels of dangerous low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, leading to a plaque buildup in your arteries. Unsaturated fat helps in lowering LDL, raising high-density (HDL) cholesterol, which is the good kind.
Getting the right amount of fat is essential to heart health. As per the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a total fat intake of 25 to 35 percent of total daily calories is recommended for heart health, and less than 7 percent of those calories should come from saturated or trans fats, which are extremely bad for heart health.
Healthy cholesterol levels
According to the NHLBI, a cholesterol level of 40 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less for men and 50 mg/dL or less for women increases your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes.
What’s good to eat then?
Whether you are looking at lowering your high cholesterol levels or want to maintain the healthy levels, certain food items can play an important role. Saturated fat is a big no-no! Trans fats are equally bad as they raise bad cholesterol levels and lower the good cholesterol.
So here are some quick tips on what to avoid, what to eat in abundance and how to stay away from the bad fat:
Stay off the Grease:
You already know what fatty food looks like, so if you are on a cholesterol controlling diet, take a pass on the greasy food. Deep frying causes food to lose water and suck up fat, and the oil that’s usually used for frying is high in trans fats, the worst kind. Olive or sunflower oil can be used for frying for that once-in-a-while fried snack at home. Just be sure to not heat the oils beyond their smoke point, which is when they start to burn.
If you check the food labels, you can stay away from high-cholesterol culprits most of the times. Food item contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat in a serving, the label may still show it as 0, so remember to look for “hydrogenated;” and if you do see it, avoid it.
Meat tends to have unhealthy saturated fats, and especially the one with a visible skin or fat layer is an unwise choice. Trim off any visible fat on steak and chops. Choose the leanest ground meat possible when buying or cooking a hamburger.
Milk products are a staple for most people across the world unless they are lactose-intolerant. They don’t realize how much-saturated fat is housed in full-fat dairy products. Choose dairy products that are part skim or toned.
Monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help decrease the bad (LDL) cholesterol. Fish such as salmon, tuna or herring are high in good fat, and other reliable sources include avocados, walnuts, almonds, chia seeds and olive oil. Soy is light on the stomach and heart, with good sources of soy protein being tofu, soy milk, and edamame.
Be a Toughie:
The more fiber in your diet, the lesser bad cholesterol in your body. Whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, oats, barley; green, leafy vegetables such as beans; and fruits with a tough skin can be your savior if you have high cholesterol. Look for fiber content above 3 grams per serving and aim for 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day.
Make Friends with Pepper Today:
Spices have many health benefits beyond the fact that they enhance flavor. Turmeric, thyme, and ginger are known to stabilize fat, so spice it up for a healthy heart.