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Cholesterol - The Good, The Bad, and Your Diet

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm
ANNOUNCER: When it comes to risk for heart disease, cholesterol has a split personality.

Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, American Dietetic Association: There is LDL cholesterol, which is not good cholesterol, which encourages the deposit of fat in the arteries. And then there's HDL cholesterol, which actually is good cholesterol. Matter of fact, there are many studies that show that high HDL levels actually are indicative of a very low risk of heart disease.

ANNOUNCER: So it's important to know what foods have a lot of LDL, or bad cholesterol.

Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, American Dietetic Association: Usually the foods that are high in cholesterol are foods that are of animal origin, red meats, saturated fat, that could be in butter, in lard and eggs and products like that. Saturated fat and Trans fats can both raise cholesterol. Those fats actually can help you increase your cholesterol level and, therefore, put you at a greater risk for heart disease.

ANNOUNCER: But fat in your diet doesn't always raise bad cholesterol levels, so it's important to know which types of fat to have in a healthy diet.

Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, American Dietetic Association: It's not just about the quantity of fat, it's also about the type of fat that's in the diet that's important. We also could lower the cholesterol by adding omega-3 fatty acids to the diet. Foods that are high in the omega-3 fatty acids would be salmon, flaxseeds, almonds, walnuts. Olive oil is also great to have in the diet.

ANNOUNCER: Fiber is another important ingredient in a cholesterol-healthy diet.

Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, American Dietetic Association: What those fibers do is they actually prevent cholesterol from being manufactured in the body in such a great quantity. So foods like that would be like oatmeal and oat bran, also lots of fruits and veggies have soluble fibers in it, particularly apples and citrus fruits and carrots.

ANNOUNCER: Changing your cholesterol levels through your diet could be as easy as changing the balance of your foods.

Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, American Dietetic Association: If we started thinking of meat as more of a side dish or in concert with vegetables in your diet as opposed to meat as being the main dish, it really is a much healthier way to eat.

ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on today's Once Daily.

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