Following a low cholesterol, low fat diet is essential to good health and longevity. This article will provide you with some keys that will arm you with more information and ideas so you can reap the benefits of eating healthy.
First, it’s important to define cholesterol so you understand why you should be eating a low cholesterol and low fat diet. Cholesterol is the lipids or fats in the bloodstream. These fats are an energy source, and that’s why you want to lower the bad sources of fats, which can build-up and blocks the arteries (in essence work against your own body). At the same time, you want to increase the good source of fats, which can help fight disease and lower the bad cholesterol.
1 – Eat Smart Protein
There are plenty of smart protein choices. You don’t have to cut meat out of your diet to lower your cholesterol. In fact, your body needs protein to help build muscle and lower fat. The key is to be smart about what type of protein you choose.
Some good choices for high protein and low fat foods are: lean cuts of meat, fish, chicken breast, soy, beans and some leafy greens.
2 – Don’t Cut Out Carbohydrates
Contrary to what you may have heard before, carbohydrates can actually be beneficial to a lowfat diet. The key is to eat the right types of carbs, which are the complex carbs. Complex carbohydrates are an excellent source of healthy energy.
Some good examples are: whole wheat pasta, whole grains and baked potatoes (among others).
3 – Decrease Fat
This may seem obvious, but the key is to recognize saturated fats. It’s really the saturated fats that cause an increase in the bad type of cholesterol in your body. This is especially important to look for on food labels.
Even though a food item might clearly state that it is cholesterol-free, the truth is that if it contains saturated fat, it’s not good for your heart. The better choices are monounsaturated fats and unsaturated fats.
An example is to choose olive or canola oils when cooking rather than coconut or palm oils.
4 – Eat Fiber
You may have heard that you need lots of fiber to stay ‘regular,’ but there’s another reason to increase fiber. Increased fiber in your diet is one key to lowering cholesterol and reducing the fat in your body.
Some great fibrous foods are: legumes, oats (oatmeal for breakfast is excellent), brown rice, apples, carrots and many others.
5 – Increase Omega’s
One big key to a low fat and lower cholesterol eating plan is to increase the amount of omega fatty acids in your diet. This one change can help to decrease any build-up of bad cholesterol.
Some great examples of foods containing omega fatty acids are: salmon mackerel, sardines, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and others.
6 – Read Labels
One huge key in a healthy eating plan is to learn to read food labels. You have to understand what the ingredient list means, as well as how it all fits into your daily eating amounts. You need to know how many calories you are ingesting, as well as how much fat, cholesterol, sodium, etc.
Changes in diets and habits can be much easier when armed with information. The more you learn, the better equipped you are to make healthier choices.