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I'm a recently retired 53 year old man, and following a blood test have just been told by a Nurse Practitioner at my local surgery that I need to lower my blood cholesterol levels (my current level is just over 6, and she indicated that I should be targeting 5).
I'm a non-smoker, not overweight, and have no family history of heart disease.
Until now I'd always regarded my diet as reasonably healthy (with a few exceptions that I'll explain below), so I was wondering whether anyone could offer advice on the most effective way of tackling my cholesterol issue?
Firstly, I already avoid most foods which are high in saturated fat (meat pies, sausages, pretty much all red meat except liver, butter, ghee, lard, cream, cakes, biscuits, foods containing coconut).
A typical week of food intake looks like this:
- NO BREAKFAST - just orange juice and a multivitamin tablet
- LUNCH: usually one of the following:
- Jacket potato with baked beans and melted cheddar (no butter)
- 2 Fried eggs with baked beans and white toast (unbuttered)
- Cream of tomato soup (200g) with a slice of unbuttered white toast
- 2 pancakes with lemon and sugar
- DINNER (nearly always home-cooked rather than pre-packaged): typically one of the following:
- Pasta with pan cooked vegetables or quorn (usually cooked with sunflower oil or regular olive oil). Sometimes also 100g creme freche and a splash of white wine
- Quorn sausages with mash potato and broccoli
- Pasta with chicken livers, prawns or crabmeat and broccoli
- Quorn chilli with basmati rice.
The bad elements of my diet are:
- chocolate (mostly dark but some milk). I get through 300-400g per week with my meals
- semi-skimmed milk - about 10 pints per week
- Unsalted nuts & fruit - I usually have a bag on the go for snacking, containing peanuts, almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans and raisins. I consume 100-150g per week. The Nurse practitioner told me that I should cut out the nuts, but other advice seems to suggest that they are good sources of polyunsaturated fats??
- the occasional take-away food: fish & chips, chicken curry or McDonalds quarter-pounder with cheese & fries - maybe once every 2-3 weeks.
I know that I need to get more exercise (apart from occasional walks at lunchtime I don't get any), but as well as this I was hoping to get views on my diet and how best to change it to reduce my blood cholesterol? Any feedback would be much appreciated.
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