Fats And Your Cholesterol

When discussing cholesterol, fat always comes into the conversation. For those with higher cholesterol, it is recommended that they eat a low saturated-fat diet. Low fat diets are often encouraged, even for general health purposes. However, there are healthy fats that can help lower cholesterol.

To lower your cholesterol, you should reduce your total fat intake. This is often recommended to reduce the amount of saturated fats you are consuming, which most Americans consume in large quantities. Saturated fats raise both your LDL and HDL cholesterol levels. They are often found in meat fats, such as dairy products like butter, cream, or ice cream. These fats can also be found on pieces of meat to be cooked and can be removed simply by cutting them off before cooking.

While certain oils like canola oil or olive oil are acceptable for a low cholesterol diet, other oils, such as palm oil or coconut oil, contain high levels of saturated fat. Cocoa butter, a key component in chocolate, is also high in saturated fats. Oftentimes, these oils are found in processed sweets, such as cookies or cake mixes. These processed foods are labeled, so you can determine how much saturated fat each serving contains.

Worse than saturated fats are trans fats, which can be found more increasingly in processed, pre-packaged foods. It is recommended to not consume any trans fat, as your body is unable to fully process trans fat; thus, you will not be able to exercise this fat off. Furthermore, it raises LDL levels while reducing HDL levels, which clogs the arteries more quickly.

However, cutting down on your caloric fat intake doesn't mean cutting fat out of your diet altogether. Unsaturated fats may actually help lower your cholesterol levels. There are a few types of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. In a low cholesterol diet, doctors recommend substituting unsaturated fats for saturated fats whenever possible. Both unsaturated fats lower LDL levels while increasing HDL levels. Polyunsaturated fats can be found in vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, or safflower. Olive oil and canola oil are high in monounsaturated fats and can be used in cooking as well as salad dressings.

Controlling your diet is a priority when it comes to lowering your cholesterol levels. Understanding the types of fats you can consume and those you should not consume is important. Just remember that unsaturated fats should be substituted for saturated or trans fats whenever possible.

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