Cholesterol and Fats & Fruit
Fats. You can help keep your blood cholesterol low when you replace saturated fats with unsaturated fat. Just be sure to limit the total amount of fats or oils to keep calories in check.
When buying fats and oils, remember to:
- Choose liquid vegetable oils that are high in unsaturated fats -- like canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oils.
- Buy margarine made with unsaturated liquid vegetable oils as the first ingredient.
- Choose soft tub or liquid margarine or vegetable oil spreads.
- Limit butter, lard, fatback, and solid shortenings. They are high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Buy light or nonfat mayonnaise and salad dressing instead of the regular kind that are high in fat. For example, two tablespoons of regular Italian dressing can add as many as 14 grams of fat.
A Word About Margarine
You may have heard that margarine has a type of unsaturated fat called "trans" fat. "Trans" fats raise blood cholesterol more than other unsaturated fats, but not as much as saturated fats. "Trans" fats are formed when vegetable oil is hardened to become margarine or shortening, through a process called "hydrogenation." The harder the margarine or shortening, the more likely it is to contain more "trans" fat. Margarines that are free of "trans" fats are now available. Read the ingredient label to choose margarine that is "trans" fat free or contains liquid vegetable oil as the first ingredient rather than hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. Use the food label to choose margarine with the least amount of saturated fat.
Fruits and Vegetables. You should be eating at least 3 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Fruits and vegetables are very low in saturated fat and total fat, and have no cholesterol. A diet high in fruit and vegetables may also help keep cholesterol levels low. So, fruits and vegetables are great substitutes for foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol. When shopping, remember to:
- Buy fruits and vegetables to eat as snacks, desserts, salads, side dishes, and main dishes
- Add a variety of vegetables to meat stews or casseroles or make a vegetarian (meatless) main dish.
- Wash and cut up raw vegetables (carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, etc.) and store in the refrigerator for quick and easy use in cooking or snacking.
- Serve fresh fruit for dessert or freeze (banana, berries, melon, grapes) for a delicious frozen treat.
- Display fresh fruit in a bowl in the kitchen to make fruit easier to grab as a snack.
- To keep naturally lowfat vegetables low in fat and saturated fat, season with herbs, spices, lemon juice, vinegar, fat free or lowfat mayonnaise or salad dressing.