Thursday, 27 September 2012

Weight Loss: Cholesterol

High fibre foods and mono-unsaturated fats lower LDL.
Well, it's weight loss group tonight, and we have a question that came up at last week's meeting: Does eating rolled oats actually lower your cholesterol?

The short answer is "yes".

The longer answer is as follows.

Cholesterol is a kind of fat that your body needs. It's present in all the cells of your body.  It helps make hormones, and control metabolism.

But like the salt we talked about last week, we need far less than most Australians actually have.  According to the Heart Foundation, 51% of us suffer from high blood cholesterol.

When we are concerned about high cholesterol, we usually concerned about high levels of LDL (Low Density Lippoprotien) which carries cholesterol to the cells and can block arteries.  The other kind of cholesterol, known to be the "good" kind is HDL (High Density Lippoprotien) which takes cholesterol out of the body.

To lower LDL, we need to eat a healthy diet.

There are foods that can help lower LDL, and one of them is yes, rolled oats.  It helps because it contains soluble fibre - and all foods with soluble fibre help to lower cholesterol. So that's rolled oats, barley, legumes, fresh fruit and vegetables. The fibre that helps us feel full and keeps the digestive system functioning well, also helps lower cholesterol.

Eating monounsaturated fats, such as the omega three fats in fish, olive oil and the fats in nuts and avocados also helps to lower LDL.

The "bad fats" the saturated fats in animal products will increase LDL. So another way to reduce cholesterol is to take the skin off chicken, remove the visible fat from meats, and where possible avoid the hidden fats in things like cakes, biscuits, and fried foods. And, of course, we need to opt for low fat varieties of dairy products.

Exercise also helps reduce LDL, so adding exercise into the daily routine can help.

In summary, to lower cholesterol

  • Eat lots of whole grains
  • Eat legumes/pulses
  • Eat fish 
  • Eat olive oil, avocados, and other mono-unsaturated fats
  • Eats lots of fresh fruit
  • Eat lots of fresh vegetables
  • Take visible fat off meat
  • Eat skim or low-fat dairy foods
  • Avoid deep fried foods
  • Avoid cakes, pastries, etc
  • Avoid fatty meats
  • Have some exercise daily





References:

Better Health Channel: Cholesterol http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Cholesterol_explained

CSIRO: The Facts About Cholesterol Levels http://www.csiro.au/en/Outcomes/Health-and-Wellbeing/Prevention/CholesterolFacts.aspx

Harvard Health Publications: 11 Foods That Lower Cholesterol http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Heart_Letter/2009/October/11-foods-that-lower-cholesterol

Heart Foundation: Fats and Cholesterol http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/fats/Pages/cholesterol.aspx

Mayo Clinic: Cholesterol Top 5 Foods to Lower Your Numbers http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol/CL00002

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