Have you or your loved ones been diagnosed with high blood cholesterol? If yes then I am sure you get your fair share of health advises not just from your doctor but also from your aunt, her next door neighbor, neighbor’s in-laws, everybody withing your 10 km radius and their dogs!
“You can not eat an omelet…It will increase your cholesterol!”
“How can you eat mutton! You have cholesterol!!”
“Oh no no no..no milk for papa, he has cholesterol!”
With advices flying from all directions and slapping us right in the face, it is but natural to feel dizzy and get overwhelmed!
Now to add to the confusion, try n take a stroll down the aisle in your neighborhood grocery store-
suddenly you will start noticing many food items that claim to be “Cholesterol Free”. Your regular groundnut oil does not say its “cholesterol free!” So is your oil full of cholesterol? What now? Switch to this cholesterol free oil? What if your family hates this new oils’ taste?
To clear some of the air surrounding this cholesterol cloud, here comes my list of 5 foods that are safe for you to consume if you are watching your cholesterol levels-
Number 1. Vegetable Oils
Often mistakenly blamed for increasing blood cholesterol levels in humans, these viscous liquids naturally “Can Not Contain Cholesterol!”
I repeat, Vegetable oils can not contain cholesterol, because only animals can make cholesterol (think milk, milk products, meats etc), birds can make cholesterol (think eggs), sea creatures can (think crabs, lobsters..) but Plants are unable of making cholesterol…hence “ALL VEGETABLE OILS ARE CHOLESTEROL FREE”
So, if a company makes a claim that their oil is cholesterol free, the claim is true but so is the the fact that your regular vegetable oil is too!
ps: thought cholesterol free, oils are oils!! They have still got calories and saturated fats and you better keep the intake moderate!
Number 2. Eggs
These oval friends always get a bad rep for being the worst of culprit when it comes to being high in dietary cholesterol but they are really not all that bad!
See 1 standard sized large egg has ~186 mg cholesterol (almost half of your daily recommended allowance). Yolk is the part that has all the cholesterol. So some people choose to eat only egg whites. But eggs yolks are packed with Vit A, pre vitamin A, all B vitamins, Calcium, Zn, Vit D etc. which makes discarding it such a waste!
Plus research hints at that saturated fats are what causes blood cholesterol to rise rather than cholesterol from food sources.
Expert RD recommendation: if you are a fan of whole egg, go for it!! But if you need more than 1 egg for your omelette, use 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites 🙂
Number 3. Red Meats (a.k.a Mutton, Beef, pork..)
Love those Kebabs? Or that Tambda Rassa? What about the mouth watering Nihari?? And what about delicious Biryanies?
Admit it! For us non vegetarians, it is so dang difficult to give up on our favorite red meat delicacies!! And then in rolls blood reports… doctors are concerned about our ever increasing blood cholesterol levels…and first thing we hear is that “You must not eat red meats anymore!”
Having a health condition is disheartening enough and on top of that depriving us of our favorite food, or worse..making us feel guilty for loving and craving those is not the way to go about it!
Most of cholesterol in meat is in the skin and also where the fatty lumps (marbling) are. So removing the marbling and skin leaves you with leaner cuts…
Now, if you put that fat back into your curry or deep fry that lean meat then you know you are not doing your heart any favor!
“ You don’t have to give upon the red meats…just cut down on the skin and the fatty cuts!”
Number 4. Chocolate
God: my child, how would you like your life to come to an end?
Me: Father, I would prefer “Death by Chocolate!”
God: Sorry child, No can’t do…ya see research is not on our side anymore! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Yup, research shows that eating dark chocolate in moderate quantities will actually lower levels of bad cholesterol and significantly increase levels of good cholesterol!
So how much can we eat?
Expert RD recommendation: stop after 2 pieces as they might be heart friendly but not waist line friendly (think excess calories!)
Number 5. Milk & Milk Products
There is no set limit as to how much cholesterol we should consume or where to stop because being animals ourselves, our body makes its own cholesterol (bad news for cannibals!).
American Heart Association recommends keeping daily dietary consumption of cholesterol under 300 mg/day.
Now as you can see, milk (contrary to the popular belief) is an extremely moderate source of dietary cholesterol. Even if you are a milk lover who is drinking 2 cups of cows full-fat milk every day, you will still be getting <50mg of cholesterol, now if you love eggs too, that is additional 186mg which will still be less that <250mg of total dietary cholesterol!
And need I mention benefits of drinking milk?
So, my takeaway message from this read is “Giving up your favorite foods is not an answer, the answer lies in the moderation! And when you completely give upon a food, you inadvertently give upon a lot of other beneficial Nutrients!”
So those were my five that are always mistakenly blamed for elevating a person’s’ cholesterol levels…
Share your thoughts and comments down below…
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She is a Registered Dietitian who does not believe in dieting; She has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition but she is not your “I know it all Nutrition Guru!”; She loves food but loves talking about food even more. Her articles are a direct reflection of her personal quest where nutrition science meets real life! Oh, and she is owned by a 3 m.o. naughty kitten 🙂