Typically, the liver will make all the cholesterol your body needs. However, cholesterol can be consumed through certain animal by products like milk, eggs, and meat. Too much cholesterol in your body has been shown to be a risk factor for heart disease.
How Does High Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease?
When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries, causing a process called atherosclerosis, a form of heart disease. The arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart muscle is slowed or blocked. As your blood travels throughout your body it becomes oxygenated. This oxygenated blood is then carried back to your heart through your veins. However, if enough blood and oxygen cannot reach your heart, you may suffer from angina, or chest pain. If the blood supply to the heart is completely cut off by a blockage this can result in a heart attack.
Whether you are attending a potluck or formal dinning affair most events will offer salad, which will typically be topped with cholesterol friendly ingredients. Be careful with how much salad dressing you pour onto your salad, especially if the dressing is cream-based. Appetizers for the most part can be healthy and low in saturated fats, but be sure to portion yourself. My tip to you is to not stand by the buffet table, take a plate or napkin and grab a few appetizers then step away. You can always come back for more.
Now it’s time for the main course. Avoiding saturated and trans fats are the cornerstone of any cholesterol-lowering diet. Both of these fats, also known as the “bad” fats, are found in foods such as animal meats, dairy products (like milk, yogurt and various cheeses, toppings, such as butter, dips, mayonnaise and dressings) and processed foods, such as cookies, cakes and candies. All of which are normally found within a Thanksgiving feast, UH OH! It’s okay! Just stick to lighter portions and you’ll be all set!
By avoiding foods that contain high amounts of saturated fats and/or trans fats will not only help lower your cholesterol, it will also lower your risk for heart disease later on.
Good luck and Happy Holidays! See you in 2014!