Sunday, November 21, 2010

7 tips for lowering your Cholesterol

As you may remember a few months ago my hubby had a warning about high cholesterol.  This came as a huge shock to us mostly because of his age and active lifestyle.  I felt rather responsible since I am the resident foodie at ADM and I do about 99.9% of the cooking in our household.  So, I started making lots of changes in our eating habits.  I've talked about some of them here and there for the last few months, but I thought I'd condense them into one post because we successfully lowered his cholesterol by about 50 pointed in 4 weeks.  So, I feel like I know something about this.  :)  I realize people are different, so just because this worked for him it doesn't mean it will be a one size fits all plan...but it surely couldn't hurt right?!?!?  :)

1.  Milk.  Whether you drink it, bake with it or just have it on cereal be sure it is 1% or Skim.  Painful I know to some of you, but seriously it'll help, and just think of all that fat you are cutting out!  :)

2.  Eggs.  You don't have to completely cut them out, but I highly recommend switching to an egg substitute such as Just Whites.  I've been super happy using Just Whites and have had no problems with them in baking!  Although I'm not sure I could quite handle a white omelet....  So, it's just a thought to switch from using eggs.  Did you know that there is a TON of cholesterol in egg yolks?  Check this out from Mayo clinic.

3.  Meat.  Don't cut it out!  You need it (unless you are a vegetarian and already know about lean proteins) but  just eat a serving size, which is about 4oz.  (So if you are out to eat be sure to save half of that steak for leftovers!)  Go for lean meat like chicken and fish, but steer clear from anything battered or fried.  Steak is fine, but does have more cholesterol/fat than chicken/fish.  Steer clear of pork...but that's easy for me to say because I don't like it anyway. ;)

4.  Butter.  Don't use it, or at least limit your use of it significantly!  Try to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead of butter.  Or find a quality margarine like Smart Balance Light, and you can sometimes find it with olive oil and/or Omega 3's.  When baking quick breads you can omit oils all together by substituting applesauce too!  :)

5.  Cheese.  You don't have to go without cheese!  Just go for the lower fat cheeses like mozzerella, or the Kraft cheeses they make with 2% milk now!  :)

6.  Whole Grains.  Use at least half and half regular pasta and whole grain pasta.  I bet you (and your kids) won't even be able to tell a difference.  Also switch to using whole wheat flour, or at least do a half and half blend of that as well.  Fiber helps lower cholesterol, keep weight under control and be healthier!  (as well as about a million other things! :)

7.  Exercise!  Find something you like to do and/or something you can do with a friend!  Try to exercise at least every other day for about 30 minutes!!  My hubby and I just got done with 7 weeks of running that culminated in the 5k Turkey Trot Race we did on yesterday!!  So, it does help to have someone out there with ya!  Or at least find something you enjoy doing, so you can get active and stay active!!  Anyway exercise will raise your GOOD cholesterol which definitely helps your bad cholesterol too!  :)

Our very first ever 5k race!  :)
Alright, I think that's all for now, but I will let you know when I think of anything else we've changed in our lives recently to make our cholesterol better!

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