Cholesterol has long been associated with the health of your heart, and since February is Heart Month, it is time to discuss how to deal with your own ticker’s well being. Cholesterol is directly affected by the amount of fat you consume, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid all fats; some fats are okay and some are downright destructive.
Watching your diet is essential to keep your cholesterol in check; you will have to make some changes to what you eat, but that doesn’t mean all your favorite foods should be kicked to the curb. Here are five cholesterol misconceptions and the truth behind them.
Cut out all fats
This is a leap that many people make when it comes to cholesterol fears. They think that since fats increase cholesterol that they have to cut it out of their diet entirely. But this is not the case. Your body needs a minimum of 25 percent of your daily diet to come in the form of fat. This is because your body requires these essential fats to function the way it is designed to.
Fat is fat, there is no difference
Many people believe that there is just fat; there are no variations and all fats are bad for you. Truth behind this misconception is that some fats will lower your LDL cholesterol – that’s the bad kind – while others will increase it. Monosaturated fats, for example in olive oil and peanut butter, will lower your LDL levels, as will polyunsaturated fats from foods like salmon and nuts. But the fats that increase your LDL levels are the saturated and trans fats from foods like butter, red meat (bacon) for the former and donuts, French fries and other commercially packaged food for the latter.
Trans fat free = healthy
Sure foods with this label may have less trans fat, but what you have to realize it that they are most likely lying to you. By law, food manufacturers are allowed to have up to five grams of trans fats in their packages, even if it claims to have none. Yet another reason why you should not trust everything you read.
The veggies I eat are good enough to get my sterols fix
Sterols are found in just about every vegetable and they have been proven to lower your bad LDL cholesterol. But to think that eating your veggies daily is enough would be a stretch. To get your daily recommended sterols intake of 0.8 grams, you would have to eat over 100 pounds of fruits and veggies a day! If you eat the recommended amount of sterols, your cholesterol level can decrease by as much as fifteen percent, making sterols something you add to your daily diet, especially if your doctor has expressed his/her concerns about your cholesterol levels.
Cut out cholesterol from your diet
You may think that if your cholesterol levels are rising, you should cut out all cholesterol from your diet; however, the truth is that you can safely consume up to 300 mg of cholesterol a day without causing any damage. In fact, 300 mg is the recommended daily amount.