• Since cholesterol is sometimes referred to as a “silent killer,” we are constantly encouraged to avoid foods that could eventually lead to excessive cholesterol.

    Dietitian Safiyah Hasson is a registered dietitian who specialises in surgery, gastroenterology, obesity and diabetes. Her passion and love for food and nutrition stems from her Indian roots. With this passion and love for food, her mission in life is to debunk any false misconceptions about nutrition.


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    Through her practice and online presence, she teaches people the value of being informed about the foods we eat and the inaccuracies of the nutritional information available. She is able to shift perceptions and emphasize the value of leading a healthy, balanced life through eating because of her sensitivity and perseverance.

    She answers our burning questions about cholesterol:

    What is cholesterol?

    Cholesterol is a lipid that is produced by your liver which is essential for your health. Excess cholesterol comes from the food we consume.

    What is the difference between good and bad cholesterol?

    Cholesterol itself isn’t bad. It is vital for you to live. But too much cholesterol can be harmful. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) is frequently referred to as the “bad” cholesterol. LDL can be harmful to your body if there are high levels of it. It can build up in your blood vessels putting you at risk of cardiovascular disease.

    High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are usually referred to as the “good” cholesterol. These lipoproteins are made mostly of protein. The main function of HDL cholesterol is to transport extra cholesterol from your blood to your liver. Your liver then breaks down the cholesterol and gets rid of it. This process is called reverse cholesterol transport.

    What foods can we eat to ensure we have a good cholesterol intake?

    Increase your diet in good fats, which include:

    · Monosaturated fats– plant-based foods such as avocados, avocado oil olives, olive oil, nuts, seeds and canola oil.

    · Omega-3 rich foods- oily fish such as salmon and sardines, flax seeds, canola oil and chia seeds.

    · Polyunsaturated fats– sunflower seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, soybeans, and tofu.

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    What foods should we avoid that increase bad cholesterol levels?

    We should limit or avoid foods that contain high amounts of trans fats and saturated fats. These are found in processed meats, pastries, coconut oil, lard, fried foods and some packaged foods such as baked goods and hard margarines. We can also avoid increasing bad cholesterol by using better cooking methods such as grilling, air frying and steaming food instead of deep frying.

    What are the main causes of bad cholesterol and what are the symptoms?

    A high intake of saturated fats will lead to high levels of LDL. Low levels of HDL and high levels of LDL will eventually cause plaque formation in the blood vessels. This plaque formation may eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke. Other factors such as smoking, obesity, stress and lack of exercise can also put you at risk of cardiovascular disease. If you are at risk of developing cholesterol, it is important to have regular check-ups with your doctor.

    Follow or contact Dietician Safiyah Hasson on the following platforms for more information about nutritional health:

    Instagram: @safiyah_the_dietitian

    Email: [email protected]

    Practice: Century City, Canal Walk Shop 24 at the Future Life Store.

    Also see: Everything you need to know about the most common food allergies 

    Everything you need to know about the most common food allergies

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