Preamble: Cholesterol and Fats are not villains - they are products crucial to our metabolism. It is the imbalance above and below normal levels that is the cause of disease.
High total blood cholesterol and its factions elevate in old age. However, due to the altered genes, faulty dietary and lifestyle habits as well as our polluted environment, elevated and imbalanced cholesterol is occurring in the young too.
The biggest danger of elevated cholesterol is that it clogs the arteries and leads to heart disease. We must note that this is specifically with regard to LDL Cholesterol if it increases above normal levels. In our at-risk population, we find the health-harming VLDL and LDL cholesterol elevated above normal levels and the health-preserving HDL cholesterol below normal levels. Moreover, high LDL levels coupled with it being oxidized by molecules and glycated by high sugars pose an even greater threat to heart disease.
So let’s look at five packed lunch ideas that are sustainable ways to normalize our blood cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease. (Read the packed lunch suggestions and read the explanation of Why it should be used and apply the principle in your packed lunch meals)
1 Katori Methi Sweet Potato vegetable ( A simple dish – just need to temper the boiled, peeled sweet potato chopped into roundels with mustard seeds, curry leaves, and red chillies. Add kasuri methi, salt, and pepper powder and cook covered for five minutes. Put if flame and add a dash of lime).
1 Katori grated cucumber and chopped walnut raita (Use skimmed milk to prepare curds)
- Choose the right amounts and quality of fats in the diet.
- Limit the use of ghee, cream, butter, whole milk and milk products, coconut, and red meat in the diet. Excess consumption of these will increase blood cholesterol levels
- Use groundnut, soybean, mustard, or rice bran oil for cooking.
- A portion of Omega 3 fats is a must. (This balances the cholesterol). Choose from walnuts, Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and fatty fish like Salmon, Tuna, and Mackerel.
- Strictly portion margarine, Vanaspati, fried and processed foods, and bakery products
In this packed lunch idea, curds prepared from skimmed milk have been used to reduce saturated fat that can raise LDL
Walnuts give Omega 3 that can balance out cholesterol levels.
Read our blog for more detailed information about Healthy Fats
Cabbage, pineapple, and low-fat paneer Salad (Oh so easy! Just toss chopped pineapple, cabbage, and paneer and give it a dressing of honey, lime juice, salt, pepper powder, and oregano)
1 Katori Whole moong vegetable
- Let fiber be part of every meal
- The use of whole grain cereals, oats, whole pulses, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and seeds has soluble fiber that can reduce cholesterol – both by reducing the production and increasing its excretion.
In this packed lunch idea, the salad gives the fiber and the calcium, so also does the whole moong.
1 Jowar Roti
1 Katori spinach sprouts Vegetable. (A lovely easy-to-do recipe that has a tempering with generously chopped garlic, curry leaves, and whole red chillies, add the palak puree and lightly steamed mixed sprouts with the addition of salt and pepper powder. Give it a quick boil to make it a semi-dry preparation)
1 Katori grated carrot raita
- Use low and medium glycemic index foods. This means that foods that do not raise blood sugar levels quickly or to a large extent.
- This control is not only for diabetics but also for the general population.
- When sugars are high, it acts upon the elevated LDL to make it into a dangerous molecule that can hasten its deposition in the arteries causing heart disease. This means using whole wheat, millet, pulses, vegetables, and fruits.
- Strictly limit refined products – from anything made of maida or white rice to sugar.
- Portioning out our grains and sugar and starchy vegetables into smaller packets will help.
- Let every meal contain whole foods and vegetables.
This packed lunch idea incorporates fiber from jowar, spinach, and carrots.
1 Katori Orange, pomegranate, and boiled beet salad – quick and easy …just toss it with peanuts, roasted flaxseeds, ginger juice, lime juice, and honey
1 carrot Paratha – make the dough with pureed carrot, roasted ajwain powder and salt.
1 Katori Red Amaranth bhaji made with generous amounts of garlic and a dash of coconut and yes …cooked in Omega fats rich Mustard oil.
1 Katori curds
- Use plenty of anti-inflammatory foods
- The LDL, especially the LDL that has been altered by high blood sugars can easily get further damaged by inflammatory molecules in our system.
- Therefore, we need to fill our diets with anti-inflammatory foods – which means Omega 3 fats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, turmeric, mixed vegetable juices, nuts, and seeds.
This packed lunch gives the anti-inflammatory goodness of beetroot, orange flaxseeds, and mustard oil.
1 bowl Soya chunks vegetable pulao – each potion should have 10 soya chunks
1 Katori beetroot raita
- Eat adequate protein
- Let protein be part of every meal.
- Protein raises HDL cholesterol – the good cholesterol that protects.
This packed lunch idea offers good quality protein from soya and curds.
Check your Lifestyle: A good nutrition and lifestyle program will reduce abdominal obesity too – which will go a long way in reducing cholesterol.
- Increase sleep to 8 hours
- Reduce stress and destress through meditation or any form of relaxation
- Stop smoking – it increases LDL oxidation
- Limit Alcohol
- Get exercise – both aerobic and muscle building – this betters metabolism and raises HDL Cholesterol.
We at Nutritionwithvibha.com believe that holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle are the path to making a sustainable change in health. We want each one of you to look at preventing an imbalance of cholesterol and for those who have raised cholesterol – work towards balancing it. The ideal way to do this is to first start with a good nutrition and lifestyle programmed. After two months, the residual imbalanced cholesterol can then be looked at if required by medicines. This is also what the American Heart Association advocates too – Nutrition and Lifestyle are the first line of therapy.
So, when we go to the doctor for our elevated cholesterol levels, we must also seek out a nutritionist for sustainable results.
We at Nutritionwithvibha.com endeavor to educate and empower the community. Reach out to us with queries and concerns and also if you require nutrition and lifestyle consultations.
Stay Cholesterol Balanced!