Understanding cholesterol and plant-based diets

Dietitian Ellie Kreiger is advocates plant-based diet and helps people learn about cholesterol and fat through her eye-opening and rather curious columns. Recently, she was answering nutrition questions in an online chat based forum. The chat was really long, detailed and consuming but I took the time to pick out some amazing tips and advice from that.

Rotisserie chicken

Ellie on good and bad cholesterol

Cholesterol comes from a variety of food but it is also made in your body. Cholesterol is important for our body as it is required for body to function properly. However, high amounts of blood cholesterol can be a health risk.

The cholesterol in the body is packed into good and bad cholesterol. The good cholesterol is low-density lipoprotein while the high-density lipoprotein is the good cholesterol.

USDA_Food_Pyramid

The interesting thing is the cholesterol we eat is not the main cause of high blood cholesterol; our consumption of trans and saturated fat is.So to keep your blood cholesterol in a healthy zone, keep trans fat to a minimum (ideally have none) and limit saturated fat (the fat from animal products).

Watching out for fat in eggs and shellfish: Two whole eggs have as much saturated fat as a small steak, so even if you are just watching saturated fat and not cholesterol, you want to avoid overdoing eggs.

fried eggs

Shellfish is a bit of a different story and can be eaten more liberally because it has very little fat.[Hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats cause cancer, World Health Organization declares]

Plant-based diet benefits: The term “plant-based diet” is thrown around a lot these days, but the definition is different depending on whom you ask. Many define it as a vegetarian or vegan diet. Others, like me, define it as a way of eating that consists mostly of plant foods but also may include some meat. This is the way I like to eat.

The benefits of eating lots of plants are overwhelming: reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, lowering blood pressure, improving digestion and more. Not to mention — from a culinary perspective — plants are colorful, flavorful and exciting.

salad

But I want to emphasize the importance of eating quality, minimally processed plant foods as opposed to ultra-processed ones. Technically a person could be eating white bagels with jam all day and claim to be eating a “plant-based diet.” Stick with lots of vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts seeds and healthful oils to get the big plant benefits.

A quick, healthful dinner trick: Rotisserie chicken can be a great help for an easy weeknight dinner and might mean the difference between dinner at home and much more greasy take-out.

The meat itself is very healthful, but the chickens are basted in fat on the spit, so it is a good idea to not eat much of the skin.

How to get Protein on a Plant Based Diet

Read full article at https://www.washingtonpost.com

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