Since it was discovered that high cholesterol levels have been associated with heart disease, it’s been a race to eliminate dietary cholesterol from the food we eat. Folks started limiting or eliminating their egg consumption, switching to margarine, and reaching for new products on the shelves labeled “cholesterol free”.
But has that improved our heart health? More recent research has uncovered that the cholesterol present in your diet may not be the most important factor in regulating blood cholesterol. Our body does make it’s own cholesterol, making it non-essential in the food we take in. At the same time, a lot of the ‘replacements’ that we’ve found for eggs and butter have been doing more harm than good. Not to mention the important nutrients in egg yolks that are hard to find anywhere else.
It’s dizzying, I know. Following the nutrition buzz will give you whiplash, and that’s why I’m here to help.
It’s hard to make “fat free” or “low cholesterol” food products tasty and satisfying. For a company that makes these foods, tasty and satisfying are important. Thus, these foods can become laden with trans-fats, refined sugars and other undesirables that are damaging to heart health.
It is definitely important to be moderate with the dietary cholesterol and saturated fats in your diet. At the same time, evidence is pointing to other factors being extremely important.
Here are some suggestions for protecting your heart and regulating blood cholesterol while you keep (moderate!) cholesterol in your diet.
Limit refined sugar
When the body has a hard time regulating blood sugar, it starts making more of its own cholesterol. Maybe too much. By making sure you’re regulating your blood sugar you’re also protecting your heart!
I’m not saying that you should deny yourself that cake at a birthday party or Nanna’s secret recipe cookies. Treat yourself to ice cream with your kids (unless you have a medical reason to avoid those things). This is another one of those places where moderation is key.
Regulate meal times and eat smaller meals
Making sure that you eat breakfast (I see you- coffee doesn’t count!) and eating smaller, more frequent meals helps to keep your cholesterol profile looking it’s best. It also helps regulate your blood sugar, which doesn’t hurt either
Cook at a low temperature
High heat cooking can change the form of cholesterol that’s in your food. By keeping the temperature low, you’ll prevent cholesterol from oxidizing and causing plaque in the blood vessels.
Eat whole foods as much as possible
When food is processed, it is often stripped of important fiber and nutrients. The high cooking and processing temperatures can also damage saturated fats and cholesterol that it contains. Whole foods help you decrease the inflammation in your body that can turn cholesterol into plague on the blood vessels.
Are you unsure of how you can make some of these changes given your schedule, budget, or something else?
I love working with people to create small, sustainable changes to help improve their heart and overall health. Schedule your free discovery call today!