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Cholesterol Management: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Choose salmon over shrimp because shellfish has higher cholesterol concentration than other types of seafood
- Use egg substitutes for breakfast and baking – avoid egg yolks
- Don’t be fooled by reduced fat labels on hot dogs and bologna
- Increase intake of vegetable oils and use less butter/margarine when cooking
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day to lower LDL cholesterol levels
If you and your physician are concerned about your cholesterol numbers, chances are the two of you will work together to create what is known as a cholesterol management plan. Generally, this plan is going to include some significant lifestyle changes. Despite having such a plan in place, many people continue to make some common mistakes that can derail their progress and continue to put their health at risk. Below are five of the most common mistakes and why you should avoid making them.
1. Choosing the Wrong Seafood
Most of us know that seafood is good for you. Doctors recommend adding more of it to our diets. Even the American Heart Association says you should be eating seafood at least twice per week. However, some types of seafood are not good for your cholesterol. Shellfish cholesterol levels are actually much higher than you’ll find in other types of fish. For example, fifteen large shrimp have more than 160 mg of cholesterol – more than half the recommended allotment. Instead, focus on other types of seafood, such as salmon and tuna.
2. Eating Whole Eggs
Many people who know eggs cholesterol count is very high continue to eat them and use them in recipes because they don’t think they have many options. Unfortunately, eggs are very high in cholesterol. One egg contains about 213 mg. The good news is all of the cholesterol is in the yolk. That means as long as you don’t eat the yolk you’re in good shape. Of course, egg white omelets and scrambled eggs aren’t everyone’s favorite. Instead, use egg substitutes. These have little or no cholesterol, can be used for almost any egg recipe, and are less messy than real eggs.
3. Eating Reduced Fat Processed Meat
Some people on a heart healthy or low cholesterol diet decide to make their lunches using bologna, salami, even hot dogs. But they choose the reduced fat options so they don’t hurt their health. The problem is even reduced fat processed meats are high in cholesterol. They are also very high in calories and in sodium both of which are bad for your heart and your overall health. You’re better off choosing non-processed meats, such as sliced turkey or chicken breast.
4. Using Too Few Oils
Although you might think vegetable oils are off limits, the truth is they can be good for you. Instead of using high cholesterol foods like butter and lard for cooking and baking, these oils make excellent replacements. Plus, many of them, including olive and canola oils, are going to increase your HDL cholesterol in the process. You can use them for almost any dish from making pancakes to sautéing vegetables. They can also be a good salad dressing instead of some of the higher in fat bottled varieties.
5. Not Exercising
Too often people assume cholesterol management is only about their diet. That’s not the case. A healthy management plan will include diet changes but should also include regular activity. Exercise helps in several ways: HDL cholesterol is increased, LDL cholesterol is decreased, weight is lost, and circulation is improved. Doing just thirty minutes of exercise per day is a great way to start improving your overall heart health.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
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