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Steps you can take to keep your cholesterol level down.

If you are trying to control you blood cholesterol level, you must limit not only the amount of cholesterol you consume, but also the amount of saturated fat, which appears to stimulate the body's production of cholesterol. Experts now recommend that you reduce dietary cholesterol to no more than 300 milligrams per day and keep your total fat intake at 30 percent or less of your total daily calories, with no more than 10 percent of those calories coming from saturated fat.

Although they're often mentioned together, cholesterol and fat are not the same thing. Cholesterol is found only in animal products - meats, poultry, dairy products, and eggs. Plant foods - vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, and vegetable oils - contain no cholesterol at all. Both plant and animal products can contain fat, however.

Saturated fat is found primarily in animal products - beef, pork, whole milk products, and poultry skin - and in three vegetable oils; coconut, palm, and palm kernel. Although foods high in saturated fat tend also to be rich in cholesterol, some foods are high in one but not the other. Organ meats (liver and kidney, for example) and eggs have lots of cholesterol but only moderate amounts of fat. Sour cream, butter, and lard, on the other hand, are rich sources of fat but not particularly high in cholesterol.

Steps you can take to keep your cholesterol level down:
Substitute unsaturated fats for saturated fats
Polyunsaturated fats (such as safflower and corn oil) and monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil) help to lower blood cholesterol levels. But this doesn't mean you should add any of these fats to your diet - you should still keep your total fat intake at or below 30 percent of your daily calories. Replace butter in cooking with olive or corn oil. Substitute fish for some of the red meat and poultry in your diet.
Lose weight, if necessary
Not only does excess body fat raise your total blood cholesterol and LDL levels, but it also is an independent risk factor for heart disease. On average, each two pounds of excess body fat contributes one mg//dL of total cholesterol.
Exercise
A program of regular aerobic exercise may help lower total cholesterol and raise HDL. To get this benefit, as well as the other benefits exercise offers, you should exercise at least three times per week for thirty minutes a session.
Increase your consumption of food high in soluble fiber
Oat bran is certainly the most familiar of these food along with legumes and other vegetables, such as black-eyed peas, kidney beans, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and broccoli. In the fruit category, bananas, apples, pears, and oranges have some soluble fiber.
Don't Smoke
Smoking increases total cholesterol and reduces HDL, and is an independent risk factor for heart disease as well.


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