Health Tip #1 Attacking Cholesterol through Diet and Exercise

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Haagen Dazs Fat Free Frozen YogurtPotato chips, burgers, ice cream or butter drenched baked potatoes. If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, these are some of the many foods you may want to avoid or reduce your intake.

If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, you are not alone. According to the American Heart Association, 107 million, or 1 in 5 adults, has cholesterol levels above 200 mg/dL. A level above 200 is borderline high and extreme levels, those above 240, are at risk for heart disease. The association recommends no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day. And if you already have high cholesterol, they recommend staying below 200 mg.

LDL cholesterol (think L for LOUSY cholesterol) clogs vessels while HDL (think H for HEALTHY) helps remove plaque from your blood stream.

A low cholesterol diet and exercise is one way to reduce your levels. Research shows that losing 10 pounds can reduce LDL cholesterol by 5 to 8 percent and regular exercise increases HDL cholesterol.

There are a lot of foods one should limit when trying to lower cholesterol intake, but what foods should you eat? Actually, the following foods can help improve your cholesterol numbers.

  • Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods
  • Fish and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Walnuts, almonds and other nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Foods with added plant sterols or stanols, such as beta-sitosterol and -sitostanol (typically found in margarine spreads such as Promise activ or Benecol)

Also, there are tasty alternatives to foods you love, so …

  • Instead of potato chips (which have 10.6g of total fat, 3.1g of sat. fat)
    try Multigrain SunChips (5.9 total fat, 1 g sat. fat)
  • Instead of a broiled ground beef burger (20.1g total fat, 7.6g sat. fat, 1.4 g trans fat)
    try a veggie burger like Morningstar Farms(3.5g total fat, 0.5g sat. fat, 0g trans fat)
  • Instead of Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream (14g total fat, 8g sat. fat, cholesterol 75 mg)
    try Ben & Jerry’s hard fat-free frozen yogurt (0g total fat, 0g sat. fat, cholesterol 15 mg).
  • Instead of a pat of butter (2.3g total fat, 1.4g sat. fat, 6mg cholesterol)
    try some fat free yogurt which has practically no fat or cholesterol.
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