5 Ways to Score Lower Cholesterol

By EatingWell Editors, "Our Heart-Health Playbook," January/February 2010

Easy tips for lowering your cholesterol and getting your heart in shape.

2. Cut Back on “Bad” Fats

When Casey Hampton (a.k.a. “Big Snack”) arrived at training camp in July 2008 too heavy to play, Pittsburgh Steelers nutritionist Leslie Bonci worked with the team’s chef to create meals designed to slash Hampton’s intake of calories and saturated fats, which can elevate “bad” LDL cholesterol, leading to plaque buildup in arteries. In place of fried chicken wings, Bonci gave Hampton grilled chicken strips with low fat dipping sauces. Other ways to reduce saturated fat: replace butter with olive and canola oils, which contain good amounts of heart healthy monounsaturated fats; choose lean meats, poultry, fish and beans instead of higher fat meats; select nonfat or low fat milk and yogurt in place of whole milk versions; eat full fat cheeses sparingly. Avoid trans fats, which also increase LDL cholesterol, by skipping foods that contain “hydrogenated oil” or “partially hydrogenated oil” in their ingredient lists. (Big culprits include packaged snacks, crackers, bakery goods and some margarines.)

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