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Bringing in the New Year without any Guilt
During the holidays lower your cholesterol by eating
By: Francisco Renick, M.D.

“Your cholesterol levels are high”. Who hasn’t heard their physician say these dreaded words? This is a concern that we always carry, constantly echoing in our minds, and in our conscience, when trying to decide what to order from the menu. Nowadays there are so many options as to what and where to eat that we must learn to choose our meals wisely, not only by how they taste, but also based on the health benefits they bring.

In every culture there are many dishes that, in spite of being aware that they are not the healthiest choices, we eat and enjoy them as part of a tradition or celebration. Who hasn’t enjoyed a delicious “tamal” for Christmas? Or who hasn’t had a second helping during Thanksgiving Dinner? A nice, big plate of “chicharrones” with a couple of beers to bring in the New Year? Does this all sound too familiar?

Although you probably answered “yes” to at least one of the questions above do not worry, the secret lies in learning to make smart choices about what we eat, choosing things that we like and that, at the same time, bring great benefits to our health.

In your New Year’s resolutions include some of the following foods and observe how your energy levels will raise as your cholesterol levels become lower:

  • Oatmeal: have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast (or an oat-based cereal such as Cheerios)
  • Beans: kidney beans, lentils, garbanzos, etc. They are an excellent source of fiber. They take longer for our body to digest, which is an added benefit for those who wish to lose weight, since they make us feel full for a longer time.
  • Nuts: they protect our heart and lower LDL-cholesterol by up to 5%. How many should you eat? 12 walnuts or 5 almonds per day.
  • Vegetable oils: when cooking always prefer sunflower or canola oil instead of shortening, butter, or lard.
  • Fruits: apples, grapes, strawberries and citrus fruits. Why? They are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers LDL-cholesterol.
  • Soy: 25 grams of soy protein per day will lower your cholesterol by up to 6%.
    7.Fish: it is full of Omega-3’s, which reduce triglycerides and protect the heart. Eat 3 or more servings per week.
  • Avocado and olive oil: they are delicious, and healthy too!
For increased health benefits combine these foods with an exercise routine. Put these tips into practice and welcome in the New Year with great energy and health! In our next issue: Summertime Health Hazards. We will be happy to answer your health-related questions, please send them to: [email protected]



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