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August 30, 2012
AT SOME stage in life,
regardless of age or gender,
many of us will have to face
up to two scary words: high
According to the Heart Foundation,
51 per cent of Australian adults have
high blood cholesterol.
High cholesterol levels increase
your risk of developing heart disease
or having a stroke.
There are two types of cholesterol:
low-density cholesterol known as 'bad'
cholesterol and high-density choles-
terol known as 'good' cholesterol.
Too much bad cholesterol can
build up and clog you r arteries, caus-
ing heart disease and stroke, while
good cholesterol helps remove excess
levels of bad cholesterol.
Dietician Tiffany Peddle, of
Duntroon Health Centre, said making
some simple dietary changes could
lower bad cholesterol and keep you
"Some of the causes of high cho-
lesterol are related to poor diet, there-
fore a healthy eating plan is important
to maintain blood cholesterol within
the healthy range," she said.
Start by avoiding foods containing
trans-fats and saturated fats.
These bad fats are commonly fou nd
in animal-based products such as full-
cream milk, cheese and other full-fat
dairy products, fatty cuts of meat,
chicken skin, butter, processed meats
and commercially processed and pack-
aged foods containing palm oil.
"Palm oil is often listed in the
ingredients list as 'vegetable oil' so
check the nutrition information panel
for total saturated fat content, which
ideally should be less than 2g in every
100g," Mrs Peddle said.
Getting in the habit of check-
ing food labels while you are in the
super market will help you make an
infor med choice.
Replacing these saturated fats with
unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and
monounsaturated) can help reduce
your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Unsaturated fats natu rally occur in
plant-based oils like olive, canola and
peanut oils, avocados and nuts.
Salmon, tuna and sardines are
rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fats,
which lower cholesterol and keep your
immune system healthy.
Mrs Peddle also recommended
eating plenty of foods high in soluble
fibre such as oats/oat bran, apples,
legumes and psyllium to reduce cho-
"Beta glucan, a type of solu-
ble fibre found in oats and barley,
is found in many fortified breakfast
cereals formulated specifically to
reduce cholesterol," she said.
Plant sterols found in fr uit, veg-
etables, nuts, grains and seeds also
LSIS Paul Berry discovers some important facts about keeping your
cholesterol in check.
Eating away at cholesterol
Use vegetable or seed oils/mar-
garine for cooking and spreads.
Eat plenty of soluble fibre, fresh
fruit and vegetables.
Snack on nuts and seeds like
walnuts, almonds, cashews,
hazelnuts and sesame, sunflow-
er or pumpkin seeds.
Use low or no fat dairy products.
Eat whole grains -- bread, brown
rice, whole wheat pasta and
Eat fish a few times a week.
Choose lean cuts of meat and
trim off the visible fats.
reduce the absorption of cholesterol
and are also found in specially formu-
lated margarines, milks and cheeses.
"These products can reduce
cholesterol by up to 10 to 15 per
cent; however, you need to check
the label to ensure you are consum-
ing adequate serves of these prod-
ucts to optimise cholesterol lowering
effect," Mrs Peddle said.
Many factors lead to high choles-
terol including diet, exercise, weight,
gender, age, genetics, diabetes and
other medical conditions, so it is
important that you consult a doctor
for the best course of action.
HEALTHY HEART: Making some simple changes to your diet can reduce
your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Photo: LSIS Paul Berry
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