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A Doctor’s Advice for Cholesterol, Fat

Proper nutrition, exercise and quitting smoking are the best ways to raise good cholesterol and become healthier, a physician said Thursday.

“A smarter way of looking at the cholesterol risk is by looking at LDL, or bad cholesterol, which is very responsive to good nutrition and exercise,” said Dr. Hong Taing Tek, as a guest on “Hello VOA.” “Stopping smoking is the best way to raise your good cholesterol, or HDL.”

To eat healthier, he said, limit food high in saturated fat, replacing that with grains, vegetables, fish, legumes and nuts. “Good fat,” including from canola, olive, peanut, sesame, corn and sunflower oil, should be used.

Cholesterol should be limited to 300 mg per day, he said, or 200 mg for those with heart disease or risk factors. Trans-fatty acids, found in packaged cookies and crackers and other baked goods, especially commercial fried foods, French fries, cakes, pies, doughnuts and margarine, should also be avoided.

To avoid diabetes and other health risks, he said, lower triglycerides, “the chemicals from which most fat exists in food and in the body,” he said. “They are present in blood plasma and in association with cholesterol.”

“High triglycerides put you at risk for diabetes,” he said. “This means that if you have diabetes, you have the same risk of dying from cardiovascular problems as someone who already has coronary heart disease.”

To lower triglycerides, limit all sugars, such as those found syrup, jam, candies, cookies and other foods, and limit alcohol intake. Cut down on red meat, especially fried, and change to broiled or roasted poultry, he said.