CAT | Diet and Nutrition
The leading nutrition advisory panel may soon revise its guidelines about cholesterol. For decades we’ve been cautioned against eating too many foods high in cholesterol such as eggs and seafood, but the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) wants to modify their warning to focus on what they believe is the bigger threat: eating too many unhealthy fats—especially trans fats.
Under the new guidelines, cholesterol will no longer be considered a nutrient of concern—meaning, in this case, something to focus on reducing instead of something to increase in your diet. To help clear things up a bit and explain why the DGAC may be updating their previous recommendations, here are a few things you need to know about cholesterol:
Cholesterol: Fact vs. Fiction
Myth: Cholesterol is bad for you.
Fact: We need cholesterol. It is found in every cell in the body. Cholesterol is needed to make a variety of hormones as well as to help manufacture vitamin D, promote digestive health, and repair damage to the body.
Myth: There are two types of cholesterol, good and bad.
Fact: There is only one cholesterol—but two main “vehicles” that carry it throughout the body. They are known as HDL and LDL. Cholesterol is only the passenger.
3 Important Truths about HDL (“Good”) Cholesterol:
- HDL brings cholesterol to the liver for recycling
- HDL scavenges cholesterol from damaged arteries
- High HDL levels reduce heart disease risk
3 Important Truths about LDL (“Bad”) Cholesterol:
- LDL transports cholesterol away from the liver to damaged tissues and cells
- Small LDL particles can deposit in artery walls and accumulate as plaque
- That plaque can then can inflame artery walls, increasing heart disease risk
The overall goal of the new guidelines, due out this year, is to encourage people to eat more healthy foods that are rich in nutrients their bodies need. Get a head start on a healthy heart and body by eating plenty of:
- Non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus and cauliflower
- Low-sugar fruits such as avocado, raspberries and grapefruit
- Protein from sources such as tofu, poultry, eggs, fish and yogurt
- Healthy fats
- Nuts and seeds
After a busy day, the last thing you want to do is worry about cooking dinner. The good news? Using a slow cooker is a convenient way to prepare a warm and delicious (and healthful!) meal for you and your family. It’s also a great way to prepare your own meats for protein-rich snacks. Try these simple slow cooker recipes today:
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
2 pounds boneless beef sirloin, cubed
One 14-oz. can stewed tomatoes
One 14-oz. can spicy fire-roasted tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 bay leaves
2 cups beef stock
1 pound carrots, sliced
8 ounces frozen or fresh green beans
Directions: Place beef in slow cooker. Cover with tomatoes, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and stock. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours. Add carrots and green beans; cover and cook for 2 additional hours on low heat. Remove bay leaves before serving.
Zesty Lemon Herb Turkey Breast
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 tsp. crumbled dried sage
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ cup water
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 turkey tenderloin (approx. 2 lbs.)
Directions: To prepare marinade, mix all ingredients except turkey. Place turkey in bowl and coat well with marinade; refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight. Place turkey and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours, or until tender. Serve with vegetables or salad, or thinly slice to eat as homemade deli meat.
Slow Cooker Chicken Parmigiana
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 large egg
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated
One 24-ounce jar marinara sauce (no added sugar)
Directions: Coat bottom of slow cooker with olive oil. Mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and spices in a medium bowl. In another bowl, beat egg. Dip each chicken breast in egg then spice mixture, coating both sides evenly. Place breasts in slow cooker. Cover chicken with mozzarella cheese; top with marinara sauce and cover. Cook on low heat for 6 to 7 hours (or on high heat for 3 to 4 hours). Serve with salad.