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Your Diet and Cholesterol
It is really alarming! Heart attacks are causing a lot of deaths in the United States! In fact, heart attacks are among the leading causes of deaths in the country with nearly half a million lives being claimed by this disease each and every year.
Let us take a closer look at how this disease develops.
A heart attack usually occurs when an artery supplying blood to the heart is obstructed by the formation of fatty plaques. Among the most common precursors of this untoward event are a high blood cholesterol level, atherosclerosis, old age and an unhealthy lifestyle. While it is true that males are more susceptible to heart attacks, a woman's chances of suffering this fate increases as she reaches her post-menopausal years.
Now that you know the connection between your cholesterol level and the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, one would guess you will be more than willing to do something about it. Listed below are some of the recommended dietary changes that may help keep your blood cholesterol level in check and keep your heart as healthy as possible.
Shy away from saturated fats. Eating too much saturated fat is the number one cause of high blood cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association or AHA, a person's total fat intake should be no more than 30% of his or her daily calories. The AHA also recommends that both your saturated and polyunsaturated fat intakes should each be limited to less than 10% of your daily calories. To help you stay on the safe side of things, here are some suggestions that you might find useful:
• Choose your meat well. As much as possible, go for lean meat. Scour the grocery freezers and buy "Select" meat cuts that only contain a mere 15 to 20% fat. Stay away from "Prime" cuts which are about 40 to 45% fat by weight!
• Don't consume more fat than what is allowed in your diet. If you are on a 2,000-calorie diet, you are allowed to eat no more than 22 grams of fat per day. This one is non-negotiable and there should be no ifs and buts about it. Go for low-fat versions of your favorite foods to satisfy your taste buds without doing any further damage to your health!
• Not willing to give up your steaks? Well, there is a safe way to go around this matter! Just keep your portions small (3 ounces per serving or about the size of a deck of cards) and you can enjoy your steak the way you used to!
• Use fats that are liquid (or as close to the liquid state as possible) under room temperature. So, if you are going to use margarine, choose those in tubs or squeeze bottles and not the more solid ones.
• You can't go wrong with carbohydrates. The AHA stresses the importance of complex carbohydrates in your diet. These foods fill you up and can make you feel more satisfied. Thus, you may no longer crave for second servings or dessert. According to the dietary guidelines set by the AHA, your carbohydrate intake should make up for about 50% of your daily calorie intake. So, eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and rice for a healthier you!
• Cook your food wisely! Some of the more heart-friendly ways of cooking your food includes grilling, broiling and steaming. Avoid fried foods as much as possible. They are no good for you!
Follow these guidelines and you can quickly be on your way to lowering your cholesterol — safely and healthily.
Author: Michael Russell
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