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* Low cholesterol diet

We all know just how important it is to eat healthy foods that are not high in cholesterol and how important a low cholesterol diet is to our vascular health. But, we also must understand that there are two types of cholesterol, one that is good for us and one that is bad. The good cholesterol is known as High Density Lipoprotein or HDL and the bad cholesterol is Low Density Lipoprotein or LDL. You should keep the LDL levels low while keeping the HDL levels high. You can visit with your doctor to keep an eye on your cholesterol levels. But, a good low cholesterol diet is the best way to ensure that you keep your cholesterol levels where they should be.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute have compiled a diet for you to follow to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Following their diet should help control your cholesterol. Your total fat calories should be lower that 30 percent in a day, total saturated fat should be lower than 10 percent per day, and the total cholesterol from your diet should be lower than 300 milligrams. If your cholesterol is already high then you should try to lower these figures.

* Low cholesterol food

Low cholesterol foods that can help lower your cholesterol levels include foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids such as sardines, salmon, albacore tuna, lake trout, mackerel and herring. Other foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids are found in canola, almonds, tofu, other forms of soybeans and flaxseed, including their oils. Low cholesterol food with soluble fiber will also help to lower your LDL levels. These foods include apples, oranges, pears, prunes, apricots, oats, berries, carrots, dried peas, beans, carrots, cabbage, dates, figs, Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes.

* High cholesterol food

High cholesterol food that can raise your cholesterol level include fatty poultry, certain fish species, egg yolks, liver and organ meats, cheese, butter and other dairy items made from whole milk. Any type of food that has saturated fats and hydrogenated oils should be avoided if you are on a diet to lower your cholesterol level. These items even include coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter, and some margarines. And avoid all deep-fried high cholesterol food such as fries. Finally, high cholesterol food in the form of processed meats like sausage, salamia and bologna should be eliminated from your diet.

For more details on making wise food choices see the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Tipsheet TLC Diet Daily Food Guide Food Groups at: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/chd1/Tipsheets/foodgroup.htm.

* Grapefruit 'protects the heart'

It is not an apple a day that keeps the doctor away but a grapefruit, a new study has suggested. Israeli researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found patients who ate the equivalent of one grapefruit a day had lower cholesterol levels than those who did not due to the antioxidants in the fruit. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, a condition which killed 114,000 Brits in 2003.

Lead investigator Professor Shela Gorinstein said fresh grapefruit juice and the fruit itself had equal heart-boosting benefits. One cup of fresh grapefruit is roughly equivalent to half a cup of juice. During tests, the research team found that patients who ate red or white grapefruits experienced lower cholesterol levels than those who did not.

The patients were equally divided into three treatment groups and given either a single serving of fresh red grapefruit, white grapefruit, or no grapefruit, along with regular, balanced meals for 30 days. It was found that red grapefruit was more effective than the white variety for lowering blood triglycerides, a type of cholesterol which is often associated with heart problems. 'It is likely that antioxidants in the grapefruits are responsible for their health benefits,' said Professor Gorinstein, adding that the red variety generally has higher antioxidants than the white. 'But it's also possible that red grapefruit may contain unknown chemicals that are responsible for the observed triglyceride-lowering effect,' she added. The team plans to study the fruit's effect on cholesterol levels further as grapefruit can react adversely with some medication. © 2006 Adfero Ltd.

Information on Cholesterol