World Heart Day: Make these simple changes in your eating habits to avoid high cholesterol
“A healthy heart means a healthy life, yet most of us ignore our heart health. With two million heart attack cases in India in a year; it kills one Indian every 33 seconds. Though this is undeniably alarming, luckily, there are preventive measures to keep your heart healthy,” says Dr Bhaskar, senior consultant, cardiologist, Healthians.
Building cholesterol is a major factor that is driving the growing cases of heart attacks. It is a waxy substance that is found in fats (lipids) in blood. While our body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, having high cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease.
According to Dr Bhaskar, “Our eating habits can help us avoid high cholesterol issues. One should know what not to eat to avoid the many health-related problems.” Here are a few vital tips to enjoy your favourite snacks while keeping bad cholesterol under control:
* French fries
It is a deep fried snack which contains the unhealthiest fat i.e. trans-fat in combination with salt. Due to the presence of hydrogenated vegetable oils in French fries, it is a big no for people with bad cholesterol.
TIP: Replace deep frying with baking.
* Egg yolks
A popular breakfast food, eggs have a high cholesterol content. So if you wish to continue eating your favourite breakfast, eat egg whites preferably. Avoid fried egg and omelettes stuffed with cheese.
TIP: Scrambled eggs cooked in controlled quantity of oil can be chosen as a healthy option.
Butter is everybody’s beloved fat option to enhance the taste of food. It contains saturated fat, whereas salted butter contains a substantial amount of sodium as well. So, frequent consumption can clog your arteries, which will lead to heart problems and is considered harmful for blood pressure patients.
TIP: Use home-made white butter instead.
* Red meat
Red meat like beef, lamb and pork tend to contain more cholesterol and saturated fat than other meats. This can contribute to a rise in cholesterol levels and worsen heart disease.
TIP: Make white meat (chicken, fish) a part of your non-vegetarian diet choices.
* Commercial baked goods
These delightful snacks contain transfats which are bad for your heart health. So, the need of the hour is to stay away from these commercial baked goods.
TIP: Start baking at home. Muffins and cakes can easily and quickly be baked at home using healthier oils.
* Microwave popcorn
Microwave popcorn is an unhealthy choice as it contains chemicals and synthetics for flavouring and colouring and is often loaded with butter, oil and salt which increase cholesterol levels.
TIP: The healthiest popcorn is made in an old-fashioned manner on the stove-top or with a popcorn maker.
* Macaroni and cheese
These are packed with preservatives and artificial taste enhancers which are often loaded with calories, fat count and sodium which is bad for cholesterol.
TIP: A healthier version is whole wheat pasta made with red sauce loaded with veggies like bell peppers, onion, tomato and corn.
* Ice cream
Sugar is not just an enemy for dental health and your waistline, but it also increases your risk for diabetes and bad cholesterol.
TIP: Shift to home-made ice-creams made with low-fat milk added with fresh fruits. Also, increase your water intake to avoid sugar cravings.
* Fizzy drinks or carbonated beverages
The favourite thirst-quencher has frequently been demonstrated to increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. They provide empty calories, which are of no nutritional value and are damaging to health. It contains carbonic acid which erodes tooth enamel too.
TIP: Fresh lime or vita-water can be chosen as an alternative.
* Convenience foods
Processed foods are convenient as they are boxed, bagged, canned or jarred. It is a hidden form of sugar, salt and fat and contains preservatives and other additives which can lead to weight and heart problems. They can also raise your blood pressure, putting you at danger of stroke.
TIP: There is nothing better than fresh home-cooked food, yet if you need to eat processed food, figuring out the food labels on the packaged items will help choose the least harmful options.
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