Check out these healthier, delicious alternatives to high-fat favourites. By Kshamaya Daniel
It’s believed one in every five adults has high cholesterol due to consumption of excess saturated fat, bad sugars and refined carbohydrates. That’s a scary statistic. It’s therefore important to start introducing lifestyle changes that help control your cholesterol. One way of preventing heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes is to stick to a low-cholesterol diet. Most people hate the idea of a low-cholesterol diet because they think it has boring, tasteless foods. But you’d be wrong! Here are seven healthy, tasty food swaps that will help you keep bad cholesterol at bay
1. Brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice
White rice starts out as brown rice, but in order to make it appear more palatable, the grain’s husk, bran and germ are removed and it is polished, successfully getting rid of all of its nutrients as well. Brown rice is whole grain, which means it helps to reduce your cholesterol. Quinoa has all the same benefits of brown rice, except in double the quantity. In fact, quinoa has 60 per cent more protein than brown rice does. Couscous is another great substitute for the cholesterol conscious.
2. Whole grain cereal instead of sugary cereals
Most common cereals have insanely high levels of bad sugars and fats (not to mention calories). Bad, saturated fats can increase you LDL (bad) cholesterol, while sugar can lower your HDL (good) cholesterol, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. Instead go for healthy, whole grain cereals like oatmeal, rolled oats, wheat flakes or porridge, which have little to no saturated fat and sugars.
3. Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate
While milk chocolate has good amounts of saturated fat that raise your LDL cholesterol, dark chocolate does not. In fact, as long as you pick dark chocolate with at least 70 per cent cacao you’re good. Cacao can actually boost your good, HDL cholesterol and lower the LDL cholesterol.
4. Veggies and hummus instead of chips and dip
We all know how bad potato chips are, especially when they’re paired with creamy dips that are high in saturated fat. Why not try something equally delicious? Hummus and veggie sticks. Heart-healthy hummus, made from chickpeas and olive oil, has protein, fibre and no cholesterol.
5. Red wine instead of cocktails
Research has shown that a moderate alcohol intake can raise your good, HDL cholesterol levels. But in that case, you should be drinking the good stuff—red wines like a Cabernet, Pinot Noir or a Merlot. Tossing back cocktails full of tonic water, heavy cream, artificial flavour syrups and dry ice will do you no good.
6. Scallops instead of red meat
Red meat is notorious for causing heart disease and stroke due to its high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat. That’s why switching red meat for chicken or, even better, fish is a very healthy swap. Scallops are particularly healthy as they are the lowest in fat and delicious!
7. Mozzarella instead of cheddar
Everyone loves cheese! Unfortunately, it can be a major cause for rising cholesterol. A 100 grams of cheddar, a cheese that seems to be everyone’s favourite, contains 105 g of cholesterol. On the other hand, 100 g of mozzarella has only 54 g of cholesterol. There are also other cheese swaps that you can try. Try feta in place of brie or Swiss in place of Monterey Jack.
Photograph: The Pizza Bike
– Snack on some homemade roasted potatoes instead of ordering French fries.
– Use a mix of vinegar and lemon on your salad instead of dousing it with a fatty salad dressing.
– Pass on that cheese omelette for a hearty spinach and chilli egg white omelette.
– Invest in some Canadian bacon instead of chomping on regular bacon. Don’t worry, it tastes the same!