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Reducing Cholesterol Doesn’t Mean Living a Life of Deprivation

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The doctor glances at your test results, “Hmmm,” he says with a note of concern. “Your cholesterol levels trouble me.” It’s at that point that thoughts of celery sticks, grapefruit and other equally uninspiring foods taunt your butter-loving palate.

The good news is there is no need to adopt a diet of “rabbit food.” You can still choose delicious foods you want to eat while reducing your cholesterol.

The Good News

Here are just a few substitutions that you can make that won’t rock your world:

Go nuts. Instead of crackers or chips, get your crunch fix from almonds and walnuts. Almonds and walnuts are high in polyunsaturated fat, the “good fat” that can lower your LDL (bad cholesterol), while boosting HDL (good cholesterol.” Plus, clinical studies show that almonds are a great weight loss aid, filling you up quickly, so you feel satisfied and eat less.

Give turkey a try. Ground turkey contains half the saturated fat of 85 percent lean ground beef and is an easy substitution i most recipes. When you add your favorite seasonings, you won’t be able to tell that the marinara, meatloaf or chili is made with turkey.

There’s something fishy going on! While turkey and children are good low-cholesterol substitutions for beef, your best bet is fish. Not only is seafood low in fat, it contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends you eat fish at least twice a week.

Get creative with Condiments. One of the biggest culprits is a high-cholesterol diet is condiments. Salad dressings, mayonnaise and dips can have more cholesterol and fat in two tablespoons than the entire rest of your meal. When making dip or dressing, use plain yogurt instead of sour cream. make sandwich spreads from avocado or tofu. Try vinegar and lemon juice on salads, or add in flavorful fruits and vegetable and a nice piece of grilled salmon and forgo dressing altogether.

Minimize your Loss with Applesauce. Applesauce can be substituted for oil in almost any baking recipe, not only eliminating the fat and cholesterol in the oil but also adding the fiber and nutrients of the applesauce to your cookies, cakes and muffins. Substitute the amount of oil called for in the recipe with the same measured amount of applesauce. Don’t like applesauce? Try mashed bananas or zucchini.

Making these substitutions does not give you a pass to eat all the cheese, ice cream and eggs you want. To get a handle on high cholesterol, you still have to eat a diet low in fat, watch your weight and get more exercise. But with just a little effort, you can learn to eat foods that will better help you to control your health without sacrificing taste.

For information and to find a physician in the mountains who can help with cholesterol testing, contact Mountains Community Hospital at (909) 336-3651. The hospital is located at 29191 Hospital Road in Lake Arrowhead.