Cholesterol Advice

Aim of a Low Cholesterol Diet

A low cholesterol diet essentially focuses on significantly reducing certain types of fat containing food items from it. The net effect of such reduction is to decrease total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood.

The basic aim of the diet is to boost the HDL build up while shooting down the LDL and triglycerides at the same time. The increased HDL would help remove cholesterol deposits from the blood and transport it to the liver for eventual disposal.

A low cholesterol diet also aims to remove those food items from it that contain saturated and transfats. These two fat types tend to increase the levels of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol in the blood and consequently obesity. Direct fallout of not keeping to this precaution would be to gradually fall prey to atherosclerosis, angina, and coronary heart disease (CHD).

Sources of saturated fats and transfats
Food items that contain saturated fats include meat fat, lard, turkey and chicken skins, cocoa butter, milk-based dairy products, palm kernel and palm oils, and coconut oils. Trans fats had been earlier recommended as a healthy substitute for saturated fats. However, doctors have later veered round to the view that these are also cholesterol raising substances and therefore pose the risk of heart disease.

Trans fats come into being from the partial or short hydrogenation of vegetable oil. They are found in fried foods, junk foods, cookies, salad dressings, certain processed foods, candies, crackers, and margarine.

Therefore, a low cholesterol diet essentially reduces the intake of dietary cholesterol (to less than 300 milligrams per day) and dietary fat to keep obesity, atherosclerosis and CHD at bay. To do that, you need to keep away as far as possible from the foods that contain either saturated fat or hydrogenated vegetable oil in any form.

To cope better with the issue of high cholesterol in your blood you need to keep to a diet that includes food items containing monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. As per the recommendations of the American Heart Association (AHA), 10 to 15 per cent of a person's daily calorie intake needs to be sourced from monosaturated fats. Vegetable oils such as Peanut oil, canola oil, and olive oil contain monounsaturated fats. These fats help control total cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. They also boost your HDL levels.   

Polyunsaturated fats on the other hand are only of partial benefit. The reason is that only reduction in the total cholesterol levels in the blood can be achieved through their inclusion. The negative point about polyunsaturated fats is that they unfortunately lower HDL levels in the blood. Food items that include polyunsaturated fats include cottonseed oil, corn oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and soybean oil.

The diet thus also needs to cap the amount of sodium intake to 2400 milligrams per day. Besides all of the above, a low cholesterol diet also achieves optimum weight through requisite control over calories.