HIGH cholesterol can be caused by a number of things, but dietary choices are among its leading causes. While you might not think twice about the condiments you put on your food, they could be detrimental to a healthy diet. Here are four easy condiment swaps to try.
High cholesterol impacts over 40 percent of people in England according to the latest NHS data, putting them at significant risk of developing heart disease. The condition is often referred to as a “silent killer” because it doesn’t always show clear symptoms or manifest in a person’s physical appearance.
Though high cholesterol can be caused as a result of hereditary factors, lifestyle choices such as a bad diet can see your risk increase massively.
While many people are aware of the types of food which are good and which are unhealthy when eaten in excess, the condiments you put on your food can sometimes be forgotten about.
However, condiments themselves are also jam-packed with ingredients – many of which can result in the excess consumption of saturated fat.
Eating too much saturated fat can increase blood cholesterol levels and LDL, or bad, cholesterol levels.
One of the biggest issues with condiments is the fact that many people use too much, which can result in a big fat blob of excess salt, fat and sugars.
If giving up condiments entirely is not for you, there are some easy swaps you can make to benefit your overall health.
Hummus instead of fatty, creamy dips
Creamy dips, such as garlic dip, might be nice to tuck into as a snack with some crunchy vegetables, but they can be ladened with saturated fat.
One simple yet delicious swap is hummus. Made from mashed chickpeas and olive oil, hummus has both fibre and approximately 7.9g of plant-based protein per serving.
This Middle Eastern dip also includes iron, folate, phosphorus and B vitamins.
Switch creamy salad dressings for vinegar and lemon juice
Eating a salad is a very health-conscious dinner swap, whether you’re having it as your main dish or on the side.
However, people can fall short once it comes to selecting a dressing.
Creamy salad dressings, such as Caesar or ranch, might taste nice, but they are often packed full of bad fats.
For a fresh, zingy flavour, opt for balsamic vinegar or lemon juice instead.
Balsamic vinegar contains a selection of beneficial antioxidants, no fat, and very few calories. Lemon juice also has very few calories and is also packed with vitamin C.
Replace butter with plant sterol spreads
Warm, melted butter on your jacket potato or slice of whole-wheat toast may be mouthwatering, but it isn’t necessarily the most heart-healthy option.
Butter contains saturated and trans fats, both of which may increase the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, in a person’s blood.
Instead, opt for a plant sterol-enriched margarine or plant-based spread.
Plant sterol-enriched margarine spreads are high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (good fats), plus have the benefits of plant sterols to help lower your blood cholesterol levels further.
Swap full-fat sour cream for zero percent Greek yoghurt
Much like creamy dips, full-fat sour cream is often high in saturated fat.
Whether you are using it as a condiment on the side of a dish or in cooking, switching to a low-fat Greek yoghurt can provide the same creaminess while reducing fat.
Adding a spoonful of Greek yoghurt instead of sour cream means you will go from 14 percent to between 0 and one percent saturated fat.
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