Monday, September 18, 2006

Help Yourself During National Cholesterol Education Month

September is National Cholesterol Education Month, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is doing its part to help inform millions of Americans on how to lower their cholesterol and risk for heart disease.

This year’s theme is “Know Your Cholesterol Numbers – Know Your Risk – Give Yourself Some TLC.” Most of us think of the term TLC as “tender, loving care” but when it comes to lowering your cholesterol, TLC stands for “therapeutic lifestyle changes.” TLC incorporates a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, and margarine, which contains no cholesterol, little to no trans fat, and increasingly lower levels of saturated fat, can be a part of this healthy diet. Other elements of TLC include increasing physical activity and learning to manage your weight.

NHLBI has created an educational online kit to help the millions of Americans with high cholesterol. Remember, high cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease, the number one killer in the U.S. The online kit includes strategies to lower your cholesterol, a Question & Answer section on the new food label, heart healthy recipes, worksheets to help track your progress and much more.

In the Q & A section, NHLBI addresses the issue of butter vs. margarine when it comes to trans fat

Q. Is it better to eat butter instead of margarine to avoid trans fat?”

A. No. The combined amount of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol in butter is usually higher than in margarine, even though some margarines contain more trans fat than butter. There are margarines available that contain no trans fat. Soft (tub) or liquid margarine usually contains less trans fat than hard (stick) margarine and less saturated fat and cholesterol than butter.

The Q & A, as well as many other educational materials, is available at http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/cholmonth/chol_kit.htm. I sincerely encourage everyone to check out this information and try to give your own body a little TLC.

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