People automatically think that they have to watch themselves when seafood is on the menu for the day. The perception that it raises the blood cholesterol in the body has always been present in the minds of many individuals, because it is said to contain high levels of fat and cholesterol. However, there are many facts about seafood that you should know before you give them up altogether.
Bad Cholesterol, Good Cholesterol
There are two kinds of cholesterol in the body: the bad cholesterol (LDL) and the good cholesterol (HDL). The LDL can build up in the artery walls, which causes the arteries to block. Blockages of the arteries can lead to heart related problems such as heart attacks and strokes. The good cholesterol helps in the prevention of arteries getting clogged.
Since seafood contains cholesterol, many believes that it is raises the cholesterol level in the body. However, the cholesterol in seafood has minimal effect when it comes to increasing the level of bad cholesterol. It is the trans and saturated fats in foods that are responsible in increasing bad cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Fats in Seafood
Although seafood has cholesterol contents, its effect is very minimal in most people. Its total and saturated fat contents are low and can therefore fit into a heart healthy diet.
Fish is one of the richest sources of omega-3. It is essential to have foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids in your diet because they cannot be produced by the body. Omega-3 fatty acid helps in the reduction of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acid promotes the overall cardiovascular health. The American Heart Association recommends having seafood in your diet to aid in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The omega-3 contents of seafood have also been known to help with other conditions such as arthritis, psoriasis, asthma and multiple sclerosis. Fish like mackerel, tuna and sardines are very good sources of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating seafood is a healthy way to increase HDL or good cholesterol, and it opposes the effects of bad cholesterol.
Although seafood naturally has low fat contents, the sauces and added toppings that go with seafood when served are not. These add-ons are usually the culprits in making seafood dishes unhealthy. The method in the way they are cooked also bears significance in the overall fat and cholesterol contents. The best and healthiest way to cook seafood is to steam, roast, bake or broil it. Avoid frying seafood because it adds unhealthy saturated fats to it and makes it lose some of the vitamin and mineral contents.
Avoiding seafood will not help you to lower your blood cholesterol. You will miss out on essential vitamins and minerals that seafood offers if you avoid it altogether. If you are watching your cholesterol, the best way to maintain a healthy level is to avoid foods that are rich in saturated and trans fats.