Thursday, March 08, 2007

Help Lower Your Cholesterol by Reading Food Labels!

Very often shoppers don't pay enough attention to food labels while grocery shopping. People shop when they are in a rush and just can't be bothered to examine each and every item. If you suffer from high cholesterol and are attempting to stick to a "cholesterol diet" in order to lower your cholesterol it's an extremely good idea to read those food labels and find out what is actually going to be going into your mouth! It is also mandatory for food manufacturers to list pertinent and correct information about what each food is comprised of.

Here are the essential things to look for on food labels when you want to lower your cholesterol and gain or
maintain good health.

  • The label should identify the food product and brand name. You can find this on the front of the label.
  • Check the ingredients to find out if the food is healthy enough for you to consume. The ingredient that is listed first on the list is the ingredient with the highest percentage in the food item. Take note that sugar is often the first or second ingredient in products like breakfast cereals. This means that the cereal is made up of mostly sugar!!
  • Look for foods that are cholesterol-friendly. They should contain very few saturated fats and no trans fats whatsoever . Most commercial baked goods are loaded with trans fats. Choose foods that are also low in cholesterol. Foods with dietary cholesterol (animal sources) can cause cholesterol levels to rise. Unfortunately, a label that claims "cholesterol free" does not guarantee a healthy product. Very often these "cholesterol free" or "light" products are very high in sugar and fats, which can send your cholesterol and triglyceride levels soaring.!

  • The manufacturer's information should include origin of production, if it was imported and contact information.
  • Look for expiration dates before you purchase. This will let you know that you need to use or consume the food item before that date. If you are not vigilant about this you may find yourself with products that have exceeded their expiration dates.

  • . Check the portion size, fat content and fat types. The less fat in the product the better off you are.
  • Make sure the food item contains little or no sodium (salt). Choose food items that have lots of fiber. Fiber helps keep your cholesterol levels steady. Soluble fiber helps remove cholesterol from the body.

The exception for having food labels is fresh produce and bulk foods. It is understood that these foods are healthy and don't have any fat or high percentage of cholesterol.

Some eating establishments have realized the importance of food value information. They have implemented their own lists for the health-conscious patrons. Many of these restaurants have also started offering healthy meals containing minimal amounts of fat.

In summary, if you are on a cholesterol diet, increased knowledge and understanding about the different
foods which raise and lower cholesterol means increased ability to make smarter and more educated choices about your health. So, read up on which foods to be careful about and make sure you read those food labels carefully!


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