How to reduce cholesterol in the Indian diet

Your husband has been diagnosed with high cholesterol and has been advised to follow a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Now comes the challenge for the lady of the house – to serve healthy and tasty foods. This is as hard a task as changing the eating habits acquired over the past years.

It is a wrong notion that the more oil you use in cooking, the tastier the food. If you can follow the tips given below, your meals can be satisfying and healthy too! And believe me it is worth the change. It is also time to change the habits of everyone in the house and teach the younger generation about eating healthy.

Foods to restrict/avoid

Rich pastries, doughnuts, croissant, deep fried snacks and sweets, cream, butter, ghee, mayonnaise, shrimps, liver, sausages, hamburgers, red meats, full cream milk and yogurt, kheer, condensed milk, evaporated milk, all full fat cheeses, fast foods, coconut oil, palm oil,
Restrict use of coconut milk, dessicated or fresh coconut.

Foods allowed

All kinds of vegetables, in any amount.
All kinds of lentils. They contain good amount of protein but no saturated fat.
Whole eggs – 3 times a week and one at a time.
Choose chicken (skinned), and all kinds of fish prepared in any way but not deep fried..
Fat free milk and yogurt and low fat cheeses
Fruits – at least 3 in a day. Eat any citrus fruit when you feel the need for a sweet.
Use sesame, mustard, olive, sunflower, soyabean, oil in cooking.
Not more than 2 cups coffee per day.

How to cut down fat and cholesterol in the cooking:

· First of all change the daily menu and opt for foods that need lesser oil, lesser coconut products and no frying.
· Use oats to thicken soups as they do in the MiddleEast.
· Instead of cream or coconut milk, use ground paste of nuts or skim milk. Or even a little low fat paneer ground to a paste makes the dish both tasty and healthy.
· If you insist on using eggs, use one whole egg and the other only the egg white. Even in baking you may do so without affecting the texture of the baked product.
· You can cut down on 30 % of the given fat in a recipe and still get a good tasty dish.
· De-skin poultry and remove all visible fat before cooking. If you need to cook red meat, then cook in sufficient water, chill and skim the fat layer that forms on top. Then continue with the preparation.

Most importantly, exercise - Half hour of walking 3 times per week.

Parvathy R Krishnan
Parvathy R Krishnan, a Nutrition & Dietetics expert, is a member of Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India.

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