How to Watch Your Cholesterol – Eating Out at Restaurants
Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance made in the liver. Our cells need cholesterol to produce hormones, vitamin D and bile to digest fat.
Cholesterol travels through the blood, attaches itself to a protein and becomes a lipoprotein. These proteins are measured by their density: low (LDL), high (HDL), very low (VLDL) and triglycerides.
• LDL is the bad cholesterol. It creates plaque on the walls of your arteries.• HDL is the good cholesterol. It helps get rid of the bad cholesterol. • VLDL is like LDL except it’s made up of more fat than protein.• Triglycerides are fats carried through the bloodstream by LDLs. They are produced by an excess of calories, alcohol and sugar. Triglycerides are stored in the fat cells throughout the body.
In a nutshell, excess consumption of fatty foods (meat, eggs, and diary) alcohol (beer, wine, liquor) and sugar (cakes, cookies, soft drinks) leads to high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL, VLDL).
It is important to maintain normal cholesterol levels because high cholesterol levels can lead to heart attack or stroke. When too much cholesterol leaves plaque on the arterial wall,the plaque buildup constricts the flow of enough oxygen-carrying blood to the heart. If the heart isn’t getting enough blood, there is little for the heart to pump to the brain
How can you watch your cholesterol eating out at restaurants? First and foremost, plan ahead. Many restaurants post their menus online. Take a look and decide what you are going to eat before going out. Try not to be influenced by what other people order. Ask your waiter to remove the bread basket or place it out of arm’s reach. Don’t hesitate to place a special order. Replace the fries with steamed vegetables or baked potato (no butter). Avoid creamy soups like New England clam chowder. Order fish and lean meats and ask to have them be steamed, broiled, roasted or stir-fried. At the salad bar, stay away from the chopped eggs, bacon bits, creamy dressings, grated cheese, coleslaw, potato salad and croutons. Instead of dressing for your salad, try a squeeze of lemon or order your dressing on the side. For dessert, order fresh fruit or sorbet.
It’s not where we eat, but how much we eat. With a simple diet plan, lowering your cholesterol, eating out and losing the necessary weight is possible.