Certain foods can be particularly useful in controlling your cholesterol levels
1) Olive oil and olive products - olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E. Olive oils high monounsaturated fatty acid content lowers "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increases 'good' high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
2) Polyunsaturated, 'lite' and Flora 'pro-activ' margarines, which have a reduced fat, energy and salt content – all factors that can contribute to heart health.
3) Legumes include dry, cooked or canned beans, lentils, peas and all the soya products (cooked or canned soya beans, soya mince, cubes, milk, tofu and tempeh). Legumes have a high dietary fibre content and are rich in protective nutrients, including minerals, B vitamins and phytonutrients. These nutrients protect the heart and the dietary fibre content lowers cholesterol and energy intake. Legumes are also naturally low in fat and don't contain any cholesterol. On top of this, they have a low glycaemic index (GI).
4) Fat-free yoghurt and other fat-free dairy products (full-cream dairy products and most cheeses have a high saturated fat content and need to be avoided if you have raised cholesterol levels.) Don't cut out this food group altogether. Cutting out dairy products will deprive you of calcium, a mineral that's essential for the healthy functioning of the heart and many other important roles in the human body, such as the prevention of osteoporosis.
5) Antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables. All fruits and vegetables can help to lower cholesterol and protect the heart. Two groups are particularly useful, namely those fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C, or rich in beta-carotene.
i) Vitamin C. Foods rich in vitamin C include all the citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons and naartjies), all berry fruits (cranberry, strawberry, blackberry etc), guava, spanspek, mango, the entire cabbage family (green and Chinese cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts), as well as sweet and chilli peppers.
ii) Beta-carotene. Foods rich in beta-carotene include all dark yellow fruits (apricots, yellow peaches, spanspek and mango) and vegetables (pumpkin, sweet potatoes, butternut, carrots) and all dark green vegetables (broccoli, cabbage and spinach).
6) Garlic and other members of the onion family. Garlic has been used for centuries to promote good health. Research shows that members of the allium family, such as garlic, spring onions and other onions, can be used to lower cholesterol and protect the heart. Use garlic liberally in cooking and on fresh salads.
7) Whole, unsifted or unprocessed grains. All unsifted and unprocessed grains and cereals, and the foods produced from unmilled flour, are rich in B vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre (both soluble and insoluble), but low in fat and cholesterol. Grains and cereals made of unprocessed wheat (wholewheat and seed bread, crackers, high-bran cereals) help to ensure regularity because they have a high insoluble fibre content. On the other hand, oats and oat bran have
a high soluble fibre content which can actively lower blood cholesterol levels.
8) Fish. Due to the high omega-3 fatty acid content of fish, people who eat fish three or more times a week are less likely to suffer from heart disease. The best fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout and sardines, but eating any type of fish will benefit your heart. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce atherosclerosis, ventricular arrhythmias, blood fats, atherosclerotic plaques and blood pressure – all good reasons for eating fish regularly.
9) Venison and ostrich. Eat moderate portions of venison and ostrich on a low-cholesterol diet, because these meats are low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
10) Omega-3-enriched foods. Purchase milk, eggs and bread that are enriched with omega-3. The eggs in particular can make a difference.
Fruit, Any type – fresh
Cereal and / or toast or bread, Esp rolled oats, wheatmeal porridge, natural muesli, wheat based cereals, bran or soy and linseed or mixed grain cereals.
Spreads – use jams or honey, Avoid or use small scrapes of mono- or polyunsaturated margarine.
Avoid trans fats which are derived from vegetable oils.
Low fat milk, yoghurt, use skim or fat reduced milk/yoghurt or fat reduced soy drink.
Cooked items, An egg up to 4 times a week, baked beans, sweetcorn, tomatoes, mushrooms, yolk free egg mix
Beverages: Water, fruit juice, tea, coffee, fat reduced or skim milk, fat reduced soy drink
Butter, margarine containing more than 0.9% trans fats.
Full cream milk, full fat soy drink.
fried eggs, bubble and squeak, fried potato patties.
Full cream milk, full fat soy drink.
Bread, Choose wholemeal, wholegrain, soy/linseed,multigrain bread or rolls, pita or lavash.
Sandwich fillings, Salad vegetables with salmon, tuna, other canned fish, turkey, skin less chicken, lean meat,
cottage or ricotta cheese , small amounts of other cheese, occasionally peanut butter.
Spreads, See breakfast. Avocado can be used as spread.
Vegetables, Salads, fresh, frozen or canned vegetables. Home made or low fat vegetable soups.
Dressings, Small amounts of olive oil, lemon or French dressing.
Crackers, Ryvita or cruskit style crackers. Soups, Home made without fat.
Fruit, Any kind
Yoghurt, fat reduced.
Take Away Foods, Sandwiches, rolls , pita bread, grilled fish, grilled chicken, occasionally pizza without cheese and salami, plain hamburger.
Beverages, Water, juice, tea, coffee, skim milk, fat reduced soy
Breads with cheese and bacon. Salami and similar processed meats, liverwurst, pate.
Vegetables in creamy sauce. Chips.
All other crackers. Commercial soups with cream, butter, coconut oil or other fats.
Full cream yoghurt
Chips, meat pies, anything in pastry or batter, fast food burgers.
Full cream milk.
Fish, poultry, meat. Avoid chicken skin and meat fat. Grill, barbecue, bake on a rack, or microwave meat. For casserole and curries make ahead, chill and remove fat from top.
Vegetables – at least 3 types. Fresh, frozen or canned. Microwave, steam, stir-fry, barbecue or bake on a hot pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
Rice, pasta, grains. Choose any type such as couscous, polenta or cracked wheat
Dessert. Canned, fresh or frozen fruit, fat reduced yoghurt, low fat ice cream or custard, desserts made without fat.
Anything in batter or crumbed, pies, short crust or flaky pastry.
Vegetables in cream sauce - chips, including oven bake.
Fried noodles or instant noodles containing fat.
Ice cream, chocolate or caramel sauce.
Fruit, bread, muffins, toast, raisin toast, crumpets, low fat crackers, nuts of any kind
Nuts are very nutritious but high in calories – take care if overweight
Crisps, corn chips, soy crisps, most savory snacks, muesli bars, most crackers.
Water, tea, coffee, juice, mineral or soda water .
Fruit juice drinks have less juice and more sugar.
Maximum of 2 alcohol drinks per day.
Jams, honey, Vegemite, peanut butter and tahini have unsaturated fat – use in moderation if overweight.
Cooking oil – use olive, canola or any liquid vegetable oil – sparingly if overweight.
Herbs, spices and tomato paste are fine.
Avoid solid cooking fats – even if they say "vegetable".
Avoid cream and coconut milk.
These are some guidelines and suggestions.
About The Author:
After eight years in the retail side of the health industry, much accumulation of knowledge and information I changed industries completely and gone back to my graphic design roots. I still wish to help inform people on natural alternatives, as well as help people when they are choosing to use natural alternatives to treat disorders, diseases and distresses.
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