6 Diet Tips To Help Lower Your Cholesterol and Ward Off High Blood Pressure
1. Rid your habits of frying foods. Trim all fat off meat before cooking. Remove fatty skin from chicken and turkey. Don’t fry foods. Roast, bake, broil or poach them instead. Use fat-free basting or marinating liquids, such as wine, tomato juice or lemon juice. If you use oil for sautéing or baking, use olive or canola, both very low in saturated fat. Use margarine that lists a liquid oil as the first ingredient. Watch out for the term “hydrogenated,” which means some of the fat has been made saturated.
2. Eat your vegetables and complex carbohydrates. The lowest-fat foods of all are vegetables, fruits, grains (rice, barley and pasta), beans and peas. Substitute these for meat and high-fat dairy products. Don’t douse your pasta in butter or your baked potato in sour cream. Use tomato-based sauces instead of cream based. Use lemon juice, low-sodium soy sauce, or herbs to season vegetables. Make chili with extra beans and seasonings, and leave out the meat.
3. Lose weight. People who are overweight usually have high cholesterol levels. Most people can lower their levels and raise their HDL levels by dropping a few pounds. Follow the guidelines for eating less fatty foods and more fruits, vegetables, grains and beans, and you will slowly but surely lose weight.
4. Include the family. Children older than age 2 can join in the low-fat lifestyle. Eating habits carry into adulthood, so teach your kids to make healthy choices. Don’t, however, start before age 2. Babies need extra fat calories to grow properly.
5. Snack to your heart’s content. Don’t be afraid to snack several times a day on low-fat foods, such as yogurt, fruit, vegetables, bagels and whole-grain breads and cereals. As a matter of fact, evidence points to lower cholesterol levels in people who eat small meals several times a day. Eating often keeps hormones like insulin from rising and signaling your body to make cholesterol. Just make sure your total intake of calories doesn’t go up when you eat more often.
6. Go a little nutty. If you like nuts, especially walnuts, sprinkle a few on your cereal, bake them into muffins or pancakes, or add them to casseroles or stir fries. Scientists think hazelnuts and almonds may have the same cholesterol-lowering effect. Be sure to decrease other sources of fat to allow for the calories in the nuts.