THE MYTH: Eating cholesterol is bad for you.
THE TRUTH: High cholesterol foods can be a part of a healthy diet. Cholesterol, itself, isn’t “good” or “bad”. It is simply a natural building block for your cells, hormones, and more. Your body gets cholesterol in two ways: from foods you eat and from the cholesterol your liver makes. The main food sources of cholesterol are red meat, eggs (yolks, mainly), butter, dairy, fish oils, and stuff in baked goods (like palm oil and coconut oil).
So, where does the bad rap come from? Eating cholesterol is only one dietary factor that affects the cholesterol circulating in your blood. Another key dietary factor is saturated fat. Some of the foods that are high in cholesterol are also high in saturated fat. Saturated fat can cause your liver to make more cholesterol than it would normally. In a healthy body, this isn’t so bad, because some high cholesterol foods (like eggs) also contain a ton of nutrients, and your body naturally regulates cholesterol in several ways. But, in a person with other risk factors, high saturated fat can eventually lead to cholesterol problems, hardening of your arteries, and increase the risk of a heart attack.
Don’t be discouraged! There is a lot you can do to naturally aid your body’s cholesterol metabolism. Exercising, eating a balanced diet, limiting saturated fat intake, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, and avoiding cigarette smoking can all protect you from harmful cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends that less than 5-10% of your total daily calories come from saturated fat. If you eat 2,000 Calories a day, then that is between 100-200 Calories from saturated fat. Adults should also get their cholesterol (and other heart risk factors) checked every 4-6 years.
Thanks to Coach Brian, we have another delicious recipe, low in saturated fat and high in delicious! Check out the cooking tutorial and recipe below.
American Heart Association. (2017). What Your Cholesterol Levels Mean. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol/what-your-cholesterol-levels-mean
Soliman G. A. (2018). Dietary Cholesterol and the Lack of Evidence in Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients, 10(6), 780. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10060780
Roasted Carrots & Ground Turkey
Nutrition Facts: Calories 388, Carbs 26g, Protein, 26g, Fat ~20g with jalapeno sauce (10g without sauce)
- 1 Bag carrots, peeled and trimmed
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1/2 of a 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Ground ginger
- Garlic powder or granulated
- Salt and pepper
- Jalapeno sauce Trader Joes
- Arrange carrots on a foil lined sheet tray and season with salt, pepper, ground ginger and then drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Roast in the oven at 425 until carrots are fork tender and take on some color, usually about 45 minutes or so.
- In a heated Dutch oven or large pan, add 1 tbsp of olive oil followed by the ground turkey. Once the ground turkey starts to really break apart, season with cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper and then add in the tomatoes. Make sure to break apart the tomatoes and then leave at a simmer for about an hour until the sauce reduces by some and thickens. Feel free to get creative and add in additional ingredients you may enjoy. A few examples could be beans, chickpeas or zucchini.
- Optional: If you like spicy food, you can top with hot sauce or I love the Jalapeno Sauce from Trader Joes.