When it comes to lowering cholesterol levels, significant changes must be made to an individual’s lifestyle. Cholesterol build up in the body is actually caused by eating unhealthy foods such as processed meat, fried food, sugar rich foods and beverages. To lower cholesterol, here are some pointers to apply to your every day eating habits.
Eliminate Catalyst Factors
It is also important to note that people who have bad lifestyle habits are the usual offenders when it comes to incredibly high cholesterol levels. Smoking and drinking are the common vices that people, not only those who are suffering from high cholesterol levels, should eliminate once and for all from their systems.
Take a ‘No Cholesterol’ Approach to Every Meal
- When buying cereals or microwavable pre-packed foods like TV dinners, consider all the labels on the box, especially the nutrition information to ensure that you are not going to take in excess calories and fat.
- Avoid restaurants and fast food places that offer all you can eat meals or incredibly enormous meals. This promotes over-eating and leads to unnecessary cholesterol intake.
- Be wise about serving size – the serving size listed on food packaging is sometimes misleading. The more servings per package, the less threatening a food will appear to be. For example, some chocolate bars sold at checkout impulse bars specify they have more than one serving per bar. How many people would share a single chocolate bar?
Know How To Read Food Labels
Food labels are divided into two parts – the top half deals with aspects of food you should limit, such as total fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates and protein. The bottom is a summary of those you need, such as vitamins, iron, etc.
It can be difficult to understand what most food labels mean. Often they are presented quite deceptively. You may think that you are eating healthy when in reality you are unknowingly taking in cholesterol, fat and calories in reduced levels. Here are a list of some of the claims that we can often find on our food’s packaging according to Food Standards Australia and New Zealand:
Calorie free - Prohibited in Australia
Low calorie – The average energy content of the food is 170 kJ per 100 g (solid or semi-solid foods) or 80 kJ per 100 ml (beverages or other liquid foods).
Low Sodium – Must have less than 120mg of sodium per 100g (or 100mL for liquids).
Low cholesterol – Only foods derived from animals contain cholesterol, so ‘no cholesterol’ or ‘low cholesterol’ claims on plant derived foods (such as margarine) are baseless because they contain virtually no cholesterol anyway.
Lite or Light – Foods described as ‘light’ or ‘lite’ must specify in what characteristic they are light, otherwise the light may refer to taste, colour or texture.