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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Week 7: Learn the Truth about Cholesterol

I’ll use any little helpful hint or tip to help me remember things, like when I was in grade school and I was having trouble with dessert and desert. My teacher told me to remember that you always want at least two desserts, so remember the two s’s for something that tastes good and the one s for the dry desert (plus too many desserts will make you big in the middle – too many s’s in the middle). That’s probably not a good example to use when you’re trying to eat healthy, now is it? Actually, right now I’m thinking of the heart-healthy dessert that Executive Chef Scott Reifenberger made for us at the cooking demonstration (chocolate-chipotle crepes w/strawberries, pistachios and a vanilla bean anglaise). Ooh-la-la, my mouth still waters for that one. Now, where was I? Oh yes, to make a short story long – this week’s theme is learning about cholesterol. Margie Fougeron gave us some great helpful tips at the cooking demo to help us remember about the bad and good fats. MONOUNSATURATED, POLYUNSATURATED and SATURATED fats are called the family of fats. We should use MORE of the MONOUNSATURATED oils – canola, peanut and olive oils, and foods high in monounsaturated oils - nuts and avocadoes. These oils and foods help reduce bad blood cholesterol levels. POLYUNSATURATED oils are PRETTY good oils - corn, safflower, soybean and cottonseed oils. SHY away from SATURATED fats because they increase bad blood cholesterol levels. Trans fats are made through the process of hydrogenation that solidifies liquid oils to solid at room temperature. Trans fats act like saturated fat and are found in vegetable shortenings, some margarine, coffee creamers, crackers, cookies, cereals and other snack foods. Check the food labels for the trans fats contents. We should limit trans fatty acids to no more than 2 gm per day.

Thanks to the BetterU program, I now know that LDL “Bad” cholesterol carries cholesterol to the tissues, including the arteries; if too much circulates in your blood, it can clog arteries and form plaque, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. I learned that my optimal LDL should be less than 100 mg/dL. LDL is LOUSY and should be LOW (baaaad). I also know that HDL “Good” cholesterol carries cholesterol away from the arteries, where it is passed from the body. 60 mg/dL and above gives some protection against heart disease. HDL is HAPPY and should be HIGH (gooood).

Speaking of Happy – HAPPY EASTER, EVERYONE! I miss reading your blogs, Annette, Peggy, Carla and Natale. I hope you are all HAPPY and HEALTHY and I hope you are just so busy getting healthier that you don’t have time to blog. I hope no news is good news, but I would still love to hear from you! Sandy F.

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