Diet and cholesterol

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
According to the American Heart Association, roughly more than fifty million Americans have blood cholesterol levels high enough to be at risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that no more than ten percent of your daily caloric (ca-LORE-ik) intake come from saturated fat. Protein is essential for good health, but many protein-rich foods are also high in saturated fats and cholesterol. To get the best protein with the least amount of fat and cholesterol, eat more fish, dried peas and beans, and skinless poultry. Most fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally low in saturated fats. However, avoid avocado and coconut oil, which contain high levels of saturated fat. Read food labels at the grocery store and avoid foods high in animal fat. Don't believe a label that says 'cholesterol free' is necessarily good for you -- many products with no dietary cholesterol are still high in saturated fat, which produces cholesterol. When dining out, ask how food is prepared. Order dressings, creams, and sauces on the side and ask for low-fat options. Make sure your diet is balanced with all the nutrients you need. For example, don't eliminate all dairy products to save on saturated fat calories. Eat low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, or foods made with skim milk that have as much calcium or more than those made from whole milk. Consult your doctor and remember that regular exercise increases the body's levels of H.D.L., the 'good' cholesterol. For more information on cholesterol, contact a health care professional.

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