One of the most effective ways to reduce your cholesterol is to improve your diet. Reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet and switching to healthier foods with more fibre and omega 3 fatty acids will greatly improve your cholesterol levels over time.
The truth is that not all fats are bad for us and some types of fats can even do us good. We need a little bit of fat in our diet to help us absorb vitamins, but there are different types of “good fats” and “bad fats”. The good fats are poly-unsaturated and monounsaturated fats and the bad ones are trans fats and saturated fats. An easy way to tell the difference is that saturated fats are usually hard at room temperature, while unsaturated fats will be soft or liquid.
Swapping out items containing saturated fats, such as butter, is one of the easiest ways to improve your diet. Instead of using butter, you could use heart-healthy Flora spread, which contains sunflower oil, omega 3 and 6 as well as vitamins E, A and D. This spread also contains plant sterols, which will actively block the absorption of cholesterol. There are many ways that you can include Flora in your food to improve the health of your recipes.
Tips for Cooking With Flora
Switching from butter to a healthy spread such as Flora will take some getting used to at first, because the oil levels in the product will be different and this can affect your recipe results. For example, it will likely not work very well if you try to use Flora in place of butter in baked goods that require very precise amounts of moisture and fat such as a pastry crust. That is, of course, unless you are using a recipe that was developed with Flora spread particularly in mind.
However, this spread is perfect for cooking and sautéing and it will melt very well. It can also be added to your scrambled eggs in order to make them softer and more delicious.
Flora can also be used in place of butter when you are making toast or spreading it on sandwiches. It has a wonderfully smooth and spreadable texture, which makes it a lot easier to apply to your bread even straight out of the fridge.
The best way to get used to cooking with Flora in your food is to just experiment. Try it in a number of different recipes and see what delicious ideas you can come up with.
More Tips for Heart Healthy Cooking
If you are looking to improve your diet in order to help your cholesterol, here are some more tips that you can keep in mind for healthier eating:
- Watch out for canned goods, which can be loaded with salt. Instead, look for those that are no-salt-added or sodium-reduced.
- Instead of having fat-laden cakes and cookies for dessert, why not have a fresh fruit salad with delicious berries such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries?
- Swap out your white bread with wholemeal bread when making sandwiches. It keeps you fuller for longer and the fibre will help to remove cholesterol from your arteries.
- When you are cooking with ground meat, make sure that you drain off the fat.
- Cut back on eating processed meat foods that are high in saturated fat, such as bacon, salami and hot dogs.
- Switch to naturally lower fat types of cheeses, such as low fat feta and skim mozzarella.
- When you are making a salad dressing, use canola, olive or soybean oil.
- When buying cuts of red meat and pork, look for loins or rounds which will have the least amount of fat. Try to eat red meat sparingly and eat more fish instead.
- Stay away from prepared baking products such as refrigerated dough, piecrusts and cake mixes. They tend to be very high in saturated fats as well as sodium.
- Instead of adding salt to your food, try sprinkling on lemon juice, dried herbs, spices or even hot chilies.
- Melt Flora on your popcorn rather than butter for a healthier snack.
These are just a few ideas for heart-healthy cooking, so why not get started transforming your diet?
Paul Simmons is a health buff, fitness guru and father of two. He shares tips on living healthy and spends his free time running with his dog Max.