Cholesterol is a hot topic this week, and for good reason-- the Christmas dinner rivals the gloriousness of the Thanksgiving dinner, not to mention the cookies and sweets that seem to be everywhere all season.
It has since been established that high cholesterol is no longer a worry just for "senior citizens," according to the FDA, you should start getting your cholesterol checked after you hit the age of 20. If you are a bit overweight or have unhealthy habits such as smoking or excessive drinking, you should definitely keep up with your cholesterol levels to prevent heart disease.
The FDA also tells us that the best way to keep your cholesterol down, in general, is to do things like:
-Cut back on foods with lots of fat such as fatty meats, fried foods, whole milk, fatty cheeses, butter, margarine, oils, lard, and creams.
-Cut back on food with lots of cholesterol, such as egg yolks and whole eggs.
-Eat more fruits and vegetables.
-Cut back on fatty snacks and desserts, such as candy, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, pastries and pies.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes most days.
Which sounds great in everyday life, but… this is Christmas.
If you've been making a conscious effort to maintain your cholesterol levels all year, or don't want to give yourself the gift of the beginnings of high cholesterol levels this Christmas, there is a lot that you can do.
If you are in charge of the cooking:
-Enlist the use of egg whites plus yolk in your cake batter
-Drain your meat before cooking
-Use olive oil or nonstick cooking spray instead of butter for cooking
-Use fat-free milk and chicken broth
-Don't fry everything
If you aren't in charge of the cooking, just make sure that your plate is heavy on the vegetables, fruit and lean meats and light on dense foods heavy in oil.
All in all, it's likely that you'll eat a bit more than you would on a regular day, but don't fret. Catch up with an old friend or family member with a brisk walk around the neighborhood, or start a snowball fight for an enjoyable dose of exercise.
Fun tech fact: If bleeding on your phone doesn't give you the willies, ABC News tells us that you soon may be able to use a Smartphone Cholesterol Application for Rapid Diagnostics (SmartCARD) to measure your levels at any time. Once this nifty device is released, you'll be able to get a quick reading by merely dropping a drop of blood into a holder attached to your smartphone.
This Christmas, you can give the gift of a healthy cholesterol count this season to yourself as well as to your loved ones-- a gift that'll keep on giving for years to come.
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