Is cholesterol-free diet the only way to reduce blood cholesterol? Part 2

by Katya Baxter on November 2, 2011

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In one of my previous posts we’ve established that completely avoiding all cholesterol containing foods is not always necessary for someone with high blood cholesterol. But what is necessary is to start approaching each meal as a process of getting more energy, vitality and nourishment. “Is the food that I am about to eat going to give me fuel to function today or is going to slow me down?” Once we start looking at food from this perspective, we are by default going to make better choices and be on our way to better health.

And here is where we can start:

THINK VEGETABLES FIRST. At each meal try to get some greens or lightly cooked vegetables. These are vitamin and mineral powerhouses and contain all kinds of antioxidants that are critical to our health! They should always make up at least half of your plate. Once they are on your plate, dig into them first.

When going for starches, THINK FIBRE. Go for whole starchy vegetables and 100% whole grains and whole grain products. Many scientific studies have shown that fibre consumption plays an important role in the reduction of cholesterol levels.

When looking for an appropriate fat to accompany your salad or piece of bread, THINK NATURAL. Extra virgin olive oil or unrefined flax oil are usually the best choices because they haven’t gone through endless processing and contain the most nutrients. All plant oils in their unrefined form are a source of ‘good’ fats. This includes raw, whole nuts and seeds. From what we already know, the protective effects of ‘good’ fats along with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals can potentially outweigh the harmful effects of cholesterol on the body.

THINK OF PROTEIN AS A SIDE DISH. Very often we consider meat to be the main spectacle of a meal. While it is ok to indulge once in a while, most of us feel slowed down and excessively full for extended periods of long after consuming a large piece of animal protein. In fact, it is recommended that only 10-15% of total calories consumed in a day should come from protein. This can easily mean that the majority of our meals should be primarily vegetarian. Some of the common vegetarian protein sources: beans (especially when combined with whole grains), nuts, seeds, dairy (moderate). Added bonus: by consuming more plant sources of protein, we are by default reducing our consumption of dietary cholesterol!

Next time you put together a meal, think of these four suggestions. They are very simple and will leave your plate automatically void of foods that will do absolutely nothing to your health. And more importantly, once you adjust your approach to food and eating, maintaining low cholesterol will no longer be a dreadful chore. You will be able to enjoy great food and focus on such important things as your time with the loved ones.

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