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Hy-Vee Dietitian: Lower your Cholesterol

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September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month. Do you know your cholesterol numbers? Do you know what they mean? Do know some foods that can help you lower your cholesterol? You might find some things you are already eating may be helping!

1. Fiber Foods:

a. How much? 5 – 10 grams of soluble fiber a day!
b. Why? shown to help reduce LDL cholesterol (when eaten as part of a heart-healthy diet)
c. Where it's found:
-Oats, Cheerios
-Oat, pumpernickel and rye breads
-Fruits – apples, oranges, blackberries, bananas
-Vegetables – broccoli, carrots and cabbage
-Beans and Seeds – legumes (beans), lentils, soy foods, chia and flax

2. Plant Sterols and Stanols:

a. How much? 1.3 grams of plant sterols or 3.4 grams of plant stanols twice a day
b. Why? shown to help reduce cholesterol (when eaten as part of a heart-healthy diet)
c. Where it's found:
-Occur naturally in nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables
-Heart-Healthy orange juice and Take Control margarine are fortified with plant sterols and stanols also

3. Healthy Fats
a. How Much? Limit your total fat intake to 25 – 35% of your total daily calories. Healthy fats should be used for at least 17 – 27 % of those fat calories.
b. Why? at least don't raise LDL and may help lower cholesterol when eaten as part of a heart-healthy diet
c. Where it's found:
-Polyunsaturated fats (Omega – 3 Fatty Acid) in salmon, tuna, corn oil, soybean oil, nuts & seeds
-Monounsaturated fats in olive oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts & seeds
-Use soft margarine as a substitute for butter, and choose soft margarines (liquid or tub varieties) over harder stick forms. Look for"0 g trans-fat" on the Nutrition Facts label.

My Favorite Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

All you need:
1 cup oats (quick oats are ok)
1 cup buttermilk (can use plain yogurt thinned with milk)
1/3 cup canola oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten or egg substitute
1 cup flour (can use ½ cup whole wheat and ½ cup enriched flour)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup raisins (optional)
¼ - ½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ tsp. cinnamon (optional)

All you do:
1. Soak oats in buttermilk for about 1 hour and preheat oven to 400°.
2. Mix oil, brown sugar and egg thoroughly.
3. Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda & powder, salt, dry milk, nuts and raisins)
4. Blend oat/buttermilk mixture into oil/egg mixture.
5. Gently stir wet and dry mixtures together. DO NOT OVERMIX!
6. Fill papered muffin cups about 2/3 full.
7. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes.

Apricot-Banana-Flax Nut Bread
Serves 12

All you need:
1 (15-oz.) pkg. banana quick bread mix
½ cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup milled flax seed
2 large eggs or egg substitute
1/3 cup canola oil
¼ cup chopped walnuts, optional

All you do:
1. Heat oven as directed on package.
2. Coat bottom of 8x4 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Combine bread mix, milled flax seed and apricots in medium bowl; mix well.
4. Add remaining ingredients and water according to package directions. Mix until moistened; fold in nuts, if desired.
5. Bake and cool as directed on package.

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