Our expert says:
If you suffer from high cholesterol, then you need to lower your intakes of total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. To lower your cholesterol levels basically you will have to eat a diet that is low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and high in dietary fibre and protective nutrients - this entails eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, low-fat milk and dairy products, very lean meat, fish, only 4 eggs per week and only mono- or polyunsaturated margarine or oil (this is where you can use olive oil in normal quantities). Click on 'Diet' and 'Weight loss' and 'Slimming Diet' for a copy of a low-fat, high-fibre diet - if you don't need to lose any weight you can use larger portions of the permitted foods, but should otherwise stick to the portion sizes. You need to check the foods you buy in the supermarket - compare the total fat content of say standard Vienna sausages and that of Low-fat or Lean Viennas - if the latter still contain more than 5g of fat per 100g, then it is better to avoid them. Rather use less processed food, e.g. cook chicken without skin and without added fat (grill or boil in a stew), to have greater control of the fat content than when you eat processed foods. You can also use omega-3 fatty acids (Salmon oil capsules - buy at chemist) to reduce blood cholesterol and try Flora pro-activ which contains plant sterols to lower blood cholesterol (most supermarkets sell this type of margarine). For additional articles, click on 'Diet' and 'You are what you eat' and read the 'Healthy Heart' section. If you require a specific diet to be worked out for you, then I would recommend that you consult a clinical dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: www.adsa.org.za and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area). However, if you read my article on 'Cholesterol Confusion' last week, you may have noticed that I mention that some people do not respond to dietary interventions when they have raised cholesterol levels and that such patients then need to take medications like statins to lower their cholesterol levels. So first try the dietary approach, but if you do not manage to lower your cholesterol with diet alone then return to the dr and discuss the use of statins with him/her.
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