Too young to worry about cholesterol? Don’t be so sure…
According Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) every hour in SA five people have heart attacks, 10 people have strokes and 10 people die from heart disease and stroke. Sadly, 80 percent of these deaths in individuals under the age of 60 are preventable through a healthy balanced diet, regular exercise and avoiding smoking.
“Simple and consistent changes to our lifestyle can reduce our risk of heart disease,” says former president of the Association for Dietetics in SA Berna Harmse. “As South Africans, we should be more aware of cholesterol and heart health in general, as we have a very high incidence of heart disease in our country.”
So, what to stop cholesterol in it’s tracks? Take note of these 10 health tips.
Know Your Fats
Saturated fats such as those found in butter, full-fat dairy and fatty meat should be avoided or at least limited because they can increase your level of bad cholesterol. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are healthier and can be found in foods such as nuts, seeds, avocado, soft spreads and oily fish.
Choose Low-Fat Dairy Foods
Fat-free or low-fat milk, low-fat yoghurt and reduced-fat cheese are all better options. Use low-fat yoghurt instead of cream when cooking or making desserts.
Opt For Lean Meat
Red meat can be high in unhealthy fats. Try substituting some meat with fish, chicken, beans and lentils.
Include oily fish
Eat fish like pilchards, salmon, trout or herring that are high in heart healthy Omegas one or twice a week.
Get Plenty Of Fibre
Swap white bread and pasta for brown and whole-grain varieties. Oats, vegetables, fruit and pulses such as beans and lentils are also great sources of fibre.
Get Your Five-A-Day
Eat a mix of fruit and vegetables to get the vitamins, minerals and fibres you need. The more colourful your meals are, the more likely you are to be getting the nutrients you need.
Include Plant Sterols
These are found at low levels in everyday foods like fruits, vegetables and cereals. But to get a significant cholesterol lowering effect, you need to eat foods enriched with plant sterols like Flora pro.activ.
Use Oils Instead Of Butter
Oils from seeds and nuts are rich in ‘healthy’ fats.
Snack On Nuts And Seeds
Why not make up your own mix of seeds, nuts and dried fruit for healthy snacking at your fingertips instead of eating cake and biscuits?
Cut Down On Salt
Eat no more than five grams of salt a day. Experiment with herbs and spices instead and avoid salty snacks like crisps, which are also usually high in bad fats which can raise your cholesterol.
“Small changes accumulate and achieve lifelong health – we are all a work in progress. Try to limit fast food that is deep fried and loaded with unnecessary calories. Adding variety to our diets should be a fun experience and not take away the joy of eating,” concludes Harmse.
These are the 4 major signs you’re eating way too much salt. Plus: