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High Cholesterol? But I'm Not Old

By Charles Hopkins Published 09/20/2007 | Health
Although you will often hear older folks discussing their cholesterol levels and see older persons in cholesterol reducing product ads, having high cholesterol levels is not a disease of the elderly.

Anyone, at any age can be inflicted with high cholesterol levels. The main reason why it appears that this is a disease of the aged is because they are the ones who get their levels checked regularly.

So why do many young people have such high cholesterol levels?

Although there are many factors which come into play such as genetics, and the use of certain prescriptions, most high cholesterol levels are caused by a diet which is too high in fat, too low in fiber and contains many simple sugars from soda and candy.

The average teen eats at fast food restaurants five times a week and even if they don't go out to a burger joint, many schools now serve fast food right in the cafeteria so they are always getting tempted.

Just think of the amount of fat from all those burgers and fries, and sugar from soda, it's enough to push anyones cholesterol levels upward.

So what can you do about it?

First, you have to realize that high cholesterol levels can be dangerous as they can lead to heart disease and strokes. But you also should know that you could start lowering your levels before any permanent injury to your body occurs, and you can start today.

Since I know that you still want to hit the fast food restaurants with your friends I am not even going to suggest that you stop. What you do you have to do however, it make better food choices when you are there. Do you always have to have a fatty burger and greasy fries? No.

There are better options. Each restaurant has nutrition information booklets that you can pick up at the restaurant, or if you are too shy to check them out in front of your friends you should know that most now have online menus so you can plan ahead. Just type in the name of the restaurant with "nutrition" behind it. This way you can plan before you go.

Notice all the other items on the menu besides burgers and fries? Take a look at the salads. I know that salads may not sounds as good as a burger but you will find that you won't feel as sluggish after eating a salad. Just make sure that you avoid using all the salad dressing or ask for low fat dressing.
You will also want toss the croutons as they are very high in fat.

Still want a soda? That's fine, just chose a sugar free one or even better yet a bottled water or glass of Crystal Light.

In addition to salads, you will also find chicken on the menu. Just be sure to remove any batter that is on the chicken. If you don't want to tell your friends that you are watching your fat intake just tell them that the batter gets stuck in between your teeth and you find it annoying.

When you are eating at home be sure to eat plenty of veggies as they are they are high in fiber and have little or no fat. Even if you are not a veggie fan, look at different types of veggies. There are also some great frozen vegetables with low fat cheese and garlic sauces that will please even the most finicky of eaters.

Do you like Oatmeal? Great! Oatmeal contains soluble fiber that can actually whisk the cholesterol right out of your system. Just opt for the plain variety and add your own fruit.

If cold cereal is more your style look for ones that say "high fiber" or "lowers cholesterol." You'll be surprised how many good ones you will find. For example, Cheerios is a great cholesterol lowering cereal.

If you still crave burgers and fries, eat them at home. Use 97% lean ground beef and eat your burger on a 100% whole grain bun. Cook your fries in the oven by spraying them lightly with a non-fat cooking oil spray like Pam, and they will crisp up and taste pretty dang good.

By making simple better food choices you should start to see your cholesterol levels go down by your next blood test and be able to have a long healthier life.