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Alternatives for Cholesterol
fat. "Three principal dietary factors have an impact
on blood cholesterol levels. They are, in order of importance:
Saturated fat, which elevates blood cholesterol
Polyunsaturated fat, which lowers blood cholesterol
Dietary cholesterol, which can contribute to elevated blood
cholesterol to a lesser degree than saturated fat
saturated fat has by far the greatest impact on cholesterol
levels," "The effect of saturated fat is about three times
worse than that of dietary cholesterol." So you'd be wise
to cut back on such sources of saturated fat as meat, butter,
cheese, and hydrogenated oil. Wherever possible, replace
these items with fish, poultry, low-fat dairy products,
and polyunsaturated oils, such as corn, safflower, and soybean.
Olive Oil - Olive oil—and certain other foods like
nuts, avocados, canola oil, and peanut oil are high in still
another type of fat: monounsaturated. Previously thought
to have no real effect on cholesterol levels, monounsaturated
may actually lower cholesterol.
a low-fat diet, then "supplement" it with 2 or 3 tablespoons
of olive oil (or an equivalent amount of other mono-rich
food) each day. Just make sure you're replacing other fats
with monos and not simply adding to them.
| Go easy
on eggs - But don't feel you have to cut them out of your
diet entirely. Although eggs have a whopping 275 milligrams
of cholesterol, about two-thrids of the population can handle
extra dietary cholesterol without experiencing a rise in their
serum cholesterol levels. That's because their bodies adjust
to a high intake by producing less of their own cholesterol
or by excreting the excess. If you'd like to eat eggs but still
play it safe, limit yourself to three whole eggs a week. Since
only the yolks contain cholesterol, you can use egg whites freely,
substituting two whites for every whole egg when baking, for
example. And you can make omelets and scrambled eggs using one
whole egg with two, three, or even four whites. Also, some stores
now sell lower-cholesterol eggs, which may contain from 15 to
50 percent less cholesterol than usual.
Beans - Nutritious and inexpensive, beans and other legumes
contain a water-soluble fiber called pectin that surrounds
cholesterol and chaperones it out of the body before it can
cause trouble. Most people would do well to add about 6 grams
of soluble fiber to their diet each day. A cup of cooked beans
fits the bill nicely. And you needn't worry that you'll get
bored eating beans because navy beans, kidney beans, pinto
beans, lima beans, soybeans, black-eyed peas, and lentils
all have this cholesterol-lowering ability.
Fruit - Fruit also gets the cholesterol-lowering punch from
pectin. Grapefruit pectin (found in the rind and flesh) lowers cholesterol
an average 7.6 percent in eight weeks. Since a 1 percent reduction
in cholesterol causes a 2 percent drop in the risk of heart disease.
To get the right amount of pectin you'd have to eat about 2 1/2
cups of grapefruit sections a day. But if that's a little hard to
swallow, Eat lots of different fruits. If you had half a grapefruit
for breakfast, an apple at lunch, and some orange sections for dinner,
for example, you could probably lower your cholesterol nicely.
Oats - Oat bran appears to lower serum cholesterol in a fashion
similar to pectin-rich fruit. Oat bran also does as good a job as
beans.To get 6 grams of soluble fiber a day, you could eat 1/2 cup
of oat bran cooked as cereal or made into muffins. Although oat
bran has more soluble fiber, oatmeal can also lower cholesterol.
When you add 2/3 cup of rolled oats a day to a low-fat, low-cholesterol
diet, your cholesterol will lower more than on the healthy diet
Corn - Corn bran is as effective as oat bran and beans in lowering
cholesterol. Use about 1 tablespoon of corn bran at each meal (mixed
into soup or tomato juice). After 12 weeks, your cholesterol levels
will lower a significant 20 percent.
Carrots - Carrots can lower cholesterol, also by way of their
pectin content, In fact, it may be possible for people with high
cholesterol to lower it 10 to 20 percent just by eating two carrots
a day. That could be enough to bring many people's levels into the
safe range. Incidentally, cabbage, broccoli, and onions also contain
the ingredient thought responsible for carrots' success (calcium
pectate) and may produce similar results.
Exercise - It's possible that exercise can decrease the buildup
of cholesterol blockage inside arteries, One of the best ways to raise
your levels of protective HDL,is through vigorous exercise, which
also modestly lowers your levels of undesirable LDL. Exercise might
also increase the body's ability to clear fat from the blood after
meals, If the fat doesn't stay in the blood very long, it has less
opportunity to build up on artery walls. We've found that runners
are able to clear fat from their systems 70 percent faster than other
people who don't exercise.
Beef - Here's a surprise. Red meat, a notorious source of saturated
fat, can be part of a heart healthy diet if it's lean to begin with
and then trimmed of all visible fat. British researchers put men
with extremely high cholesterol on a low-fat, high-fiber diet containing
6 1/2 ounces a day of very lean red meat. The fat content of this
diet was 27 percent of total calories, which is well below the 40
percent currently consumed by most people in the United States.
The men's cholesterol levels fell by a respectable 18.5 percent.
Skim Milk - Drink lots of skim milk. Add a quart of skim milk
to your daily diets. Within 12 weeks, elevated cholesterol levels
are lowered on average of 8 percent.
Garlic - Large quantities of raw garlic can reduce harmful blood
fats. Unfortunately, raw garlic can also reduce your circle of friends.
Worse yet, garlic that's been "deodorized" by heat treatment loses
its cholesterol-lowering effects. But now there's an odor-modified
liquid garlic extract from Japan called Kyolic that seems to lower
blood fats. Taking 1 gram a day of the liquid garlic extract, your
cholesterol levels will fall an average of 44 points in six months.
Special Seed - Fiber-rich psyllium seeds, the main ingredient
of the bowel regulator Metamucil, may also lower cholesterol. Men
with elevated cholesterol may take a teaspoon of Metamucil in water
three times a day to lower their levels about 15 percent in eight
Coffee - Coffee consumption with increased cholesterol. Coffee
prepared by the filter method will not increase cholesterol levels
in the same way perked coffee will. We suggest stay away from all
Don't smoke - Here's one more reason to quit smoking. Studies
showed that teenage boys who smoked as few as 20 cigarettes a week
had substantial increases in blood cholesterol. In addition, a Swedish
study showed that smokers tend to suffer from low levels of beneficial
HDL cholesterol. When a group of habitual smokers kicked the habit,
however, they all experienced rapid and pronounced increases in
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