Cholesterol is a necessary substance in your blood. Even if you eat a healthy diet, you can’t get away from cholesterol. Beef and other meat products, popular ingredients in many meals, are natural sources of cholesterol. If you need to regulate your cholesterol, regulate your beef intake.
What Is It
Cholesterol is an alcohol-based, fatty ingredient found in meat. It moves throughout the blood, helping your body function efficiently. High-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins are the two types of cholesterol that pump through your blood. Beef and other animal meats are full of saturated fats that can increase the amount of LDL, or bad cholesterol, in your blood.
Where Is It
Cholesterol is found naturally in your blood, produced by your liver. People also introduce cholesterol in their diets by eating meat and oily substances. You can find high levels of cholesterol in the beef and other red meats. In steaks and other cuts of meats, you can see the veins of fat along the sides or middle of the meat. These veins harbor the majority of the cholesterol in the meat.
What Can Happen
Although cholesterol occurs naturally in your blood, too much can be problematic. The saturated fat in beef can raise your ratio of LDL, the unhealthy cholesterol, to HDL, the healthy cholesterol. Too much LDL in your blood stream can get stuck on the walls of your blood vessels. This plaque in your blood veins can slow or eventually stop your blood stream, causing heart attacks or strokes.
What You Can Do
You need not eliminate beef entirely from your diet. Beef is full of protein and iron and can be a healthy addition to a diet, when used properly. When you order a cut of beef, look for the fat. Cut it off and throw it out before consuming the meat. If you want ground meat, look for lean or low-fat varieties that have lower amounts of saturated fat. When you cook the ground beef, rinse or dab off any excessive grease that collects on the pan or plate.
If you are getting too much cholesterol in your diet, look for beef alternatives. Talk to your doctor about iron supplements if you are anemic. Make hamburgers out of lean ground poultry or a soy alternative. Work seafood, with healthy fats, into your diet, replacing red meats in meals.
- beef image by les sanders from Fotolia.com