The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that having high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your bloodstream can lead to a plaque build-up in the arteries, causing strokes and heart attacks. When your LDL numbers climb above 200, your doctor may suggest you start eating a cholesterol-healthy diet. Knowing how to cook cholesterol-reducing foods can help you improve your numbers and improve your overall health.
Incorporate legumes and beans into your meals several times a week. They are classified by the Mayo Clinic as a heart-healthy choice because they contain no cholesterol and provide important nutrients and minerals to your body. Legumes and beans can be used in a variety of ways including soups, casseroles and side dishes.
Choose meats that are low in fat. Ask the butcher to cut all fat off the meat before wrapping it. It is also important to watch your portion size when cooking meat. The AHA states that a serving of meat should be about the same size as a deck of playing cards. Whenever possible, substitute meat with non-meat protein in your recipes. One example of this would be a soy-based protein that can be found in most grocery store aisles.
Focus on reducing unhealthy fats found in butter and dairy products. Concentrate on using olive oils or other cholesterol-free oils for cooking, baking and sauces. In addition, use low-fat or fat-free dairy products and use them sparingly in your cooking.
Use egg whites instead of whole eggs whenever possible. Egg yolks contain the cholesterol; avoiding the use of yolks can help you reduce those numbers.
Add oats to recipes when you can. Oatmeal eaten by itself has been proven to reduce cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic, but you can also hide oats in many dishes, including your casseroles.
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