Tips for low cholesterol cooking

A diet makeover is an effective way to cut down bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein). By avoiding certain foods high in trans and saturated fats, you can lower your cholesterol level drastically.

But, the secret to a balanced heart-friendly diet doesn't here. Lowering bad cholesterol must start from your very kitchen with the help of healthy cooking methods. By practicing easy-to-follow cooking tips, you can deal with high cholesterol woes while making sure that all essential nutrients remain intact. Here are 8 important tips for low cholesterol cooking...

Employ low-fat cooking methods: Try low-fat cooking methods like broiling, grilling, stir-fry, braising and steaming. These methods are much better than batter coating and deep frying as they help retain all the essential nutrients and flavours of the ingredients. Fried foods, on the other hand, should be strictly avoided because most of them contain high levels of saturated and trans-fats. Moreover, when oil is heated to very high temperatures, a toxic compound called acrylamide is formed which is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Hence, to maintain heart health and lower bad cholesterol, use these health cooking methods.

Use lean cuts of meat: Another healthy cooking method is using more of lean cuts of meat and poultry as they are lower in fats. Lean cuts of pork include loin chops and tenderloin while that of beef includes chuck, sirloin and round. Also, while cooking chicken meat, use boneless breast pieces or trim the excess fat with the help of kitchen scissors.

Remove visible meat fats before cooking: While cooking meat and poultry, trim all visible fats from the pieces. This includes oils, butter and fats on the meat. The skin also harbours a lot of fat and calories and hence, it is advisable to always remove it. You may leave the skin on while cooking but remove it prior to eating.

Use pure vegetable oils instead of fats: Use more of olive oil, sunflower oil and canola oil for cooking instead of opting for lard or butter. These cooking oils are a very good source of unsaturated fatty acids required for maintaining a healthy heart. While olive oil is a good source of mono-unsaturates, pure vegetable oils like sunflower oil are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Avoid fatty favouring additives: For a low cholesterol diet, try more of organic spices like basil, cilantro and oregano rather than fatty additives for flavouring. Instead of leaning more towards sour cream and butter to liven your dish, you can reach for these spices to remain healthy and fat-free.

Cook meat dishes in advance: While cooking stews, soups and boiled meat, try and cook a day in advance and then keep it inside the refrigerator. This is because as the dish chills, the fat present in it hardens at the top. This can be removed easily and the remaining low-fat dish can be used.

Remove or drain fat after cooking: Another cooking recommendation that will help lower the cholesterol content is by draining the fat after cooking. Once the meat or poultry pieces are cooked properly, you can remove the excess oil in the pan and then rinse the pieces in hot water. Following this, you can remove the water from the cooked meat with the help of a paper towel.

Eat foods with high fibre content: For cooking low-cholesterol foods, opt for ingredients that have high fibre levels. Fibre foods can be categorized under two distinct sectors - soluble and insoluble fibre foods. Insoluble fibre foods include green leafy vegetables, nuts and grains while soluble fibres are found in bananas and oatmeal.

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