Does your child have high cholesterol?

 

Our bodies need cholesterol. We can’t live without it. But a high level of cholesterol is too much of a good thing. The best way to control your cholesterol is to make wise food choices and get enough exercise.

Your first step is to identify those foods with high cholesterol or saturated fats in them. Cutting back those foods is critical to lowering your child’s cholesterol. Reading labels on the packaging of foods is helpful. Taking some time on the internet and researching your top 5 fast food restaurants’ websites for their nutritional information. Go through each list and find a few healthier choices for your child BEFORE the next time you go through the drive-thru.

Once you’ve lowered your saturated fat intake, you’ve taken important steps toward a healthier heart. Here are some more ideas that can help you meet your goal.

 

Fiber

There are 2 kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble. While our bodies need both, it is soluble fiber that helps to lower our cholesterol. Eating 5- 10 grams of soluble fiber each day can decrease LDL “bad” cholesterol by 5%-10%.

It is best to get soluble fiber from foods rather than supplements. Increase you fiber content gradually and drink lots of water (fiber without water can be constipating)

  • Cereal Grain (barley, regular oatmeal, oat bran, whole-grain breads)
  • Fruit (prunes, citurs,stawberries, apples, pears)
  • Beans and peas (dried and canned beans, peas, lentils)
  • Vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots)

Soy Protein

Although it is not clear that soy protein alone reduces cholesterol, it may have that effect when used as a replacement for animal protein in milk or meat because animal-based foods natural contain more cholesterol.

Between 2 and 4 servings of soy each day (25 grams or more) is about right. Several healthy brands of soy milk are on the market these have less than 2 grams of saturated fat and less than 10 grams of sugar. Tofu is a refrigerated soy product. Many meat-substitute soy products can be found in the freezer case.

  • Soy milk
  • Soy/veggie burgers
  • Tofu

Omega – 3 fatty Acids

  • Omega 3 fatty acids reduce certain fats in the bloodstream. Some fish and shell fish are rich sources of omega-3s, although anyone who could become pregnant should limit those fish with high mercury content.
  • Good: shrimp, cod, catfish, grouper, red snapper
  • Better: Pollock, crab, lobster, whitefish
  • Best: Salmon, herring, oysters, halibut, canned light tuna
  • Avoid those foods with high mercury levels
  • Nuts
  • Replacing snack high in saturated fats with nuts – especially almonds – can help reduce LDL and increase HDL “good” cholesterol. Nuts contain healthy fats, but they are also high in calories; choose those without added oils and salt and don’t have more than a small handful a day
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • English walnuts

Other Resources

10 Ways to Lower Your Child’s Cholesterol

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/cholesterol.html

Fat: Good or bad ?

http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/fat-calories.html

Reading Food Labels

http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/labels.html

NIH info on weight control

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/helping-your-child-tips-parents/Pages/helping-your-child-tips-for-parents.aspx