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6 Slimming Tips For A Healthy Heart
Eat smart for your heart
You’ve heard it time and time again – if you care about your heart, high blood-cholesterol is a health risk you can’t afford to ignore.
Try these tips to help you keep your saturated fat intake and your cholesterol levels down, and improve your weight control while you're at it.
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This image is not exactly text-book, but essentially it’s what happens when you overload on saturated fat. Your body reacts by making more cholesterol than it needs, and the surplus ends up in your blood, clogging up your arteries and preventing blood flow, and may eventually lead to a heart attack.
Olive or canola oil is a heart-healthier alternative to butter
As well as avoiding fried and take-away foods, there are several other ways to reduce saturated fat intake. Allan Borushek, (the Calorie King!), offers these tips:
Adults need at least 25-35g of fibre per day
Increasing the amount of soluble fibre in your diet is a great way to improve cholesterol levels. Fibre helps to clean out your body’s digestive system, and in doing so it pushes LDL (bad) cholesterol through the blood stream and eventually out of the body – it’s like an exfoliating scrub for your insides!
Foods rich in soluble fibre include dried beans, baked beans, lentils, chick peas, hummus, nuts, and seeds. Oat bran, rice bran, and barley are also a good source of fibre, as are fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are full of good carbs that can help to lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Foods rich in healthy carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables and whole grains are also naturally low in calories. By consuming more of these foods you will eat less high-fat, high-cholesterol foods. These same foods are also high in fibre, which also lowers LDL cholesterol. Fruits and vegetables also contain vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene and antioxidants, which help prevent cholesterol from moving out of the blood stream and into the lining of the blood vessels.Allan Borushek also recommends eating portion-controlled amounts of avocados. The fat in avocados, though high, is mainly monounsaturated and can help to lower blood cholesterol levels.
The best way to make sure you steer clear of foods high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol is to read food labels or source information from the CalorieKing food database on the calorie, fat, fibre and carbohydrate content of foods you eat.
Make label reading such a habit that you always check before you eat – that way, not a milligram of cholesterol or saturated fat will escape your attention!
Several studies have now shown that drinking too much coffee can cause a rise in LDL cholesterol levels, particularly in people who have a predisposition to high blood-cholesterol. If you drink six cups or more a day of unfiltered coffee, it’s likely to significantly increase your cholesterol levels. However, if your java-jolt is drip-filtered, you can keep sipping; the studies showed that filtered coffee causes only a tiny increase in LDL compared with espresso or percolated coffee.
Allan Borushek suggests drinking tea instead. “Tea contains antioxidants that may protect the cholesterol in the blood oxidising,” he explains.
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Last updated: November 23rd, 2007
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