Like many people, I try to eat healthy throughout the year, so I’m sharing my delicious recipe for Orange Blueberry Dried Fruit Compote to help. And, well like many people, sometimes I miss the mark a bit throughout the year.
So, I like to adjust every once in a while. Part of that adjusting is because I have high cholesterol, and after I get my blood checked, the Dr. tells me I should keep an eye on what I eat.
In actuality, I have high “good” HDL cholesterol, and borderline high “bad” LDL cholesterol. So my total cholesterol appears elevated. Unfortunately for me, it’s mostly from genetics, so there isn’t a lot I can do. But I know that I can make small changes and see some improvements in the numbers.
I went to the Dr. recently and got my blood work done, and was again reminded to keep an eye on what I eat.
Some information about cholesterol:
But, let’s talk a little about what cholesterol is. I’ve read a ton about it because I’ve had high cholesterol for years. I’m not a Dr. and please don’t take my word as gospel; if your medical provider gave you different advice, go with what she said. Or, do some more research. I’m simply trying to share what works for me, and what I’ve learned as a way to help start the conversation.
Cholesterol is a soft waxy substance found in every human cell. It’s also in animal-based food cells. The kind found in food is called dietary cholesterol. Only animal-based foods like meat and dairy (cheese) contain dietary cholesterol; it’s not found in plant-based foods such as fruits, veggies, grains, or beans.
Your body needs cholesterol to survive, and your body actually makes the stuff. For instance, the liver uses cholesterol to make bile acids, which help you digest foods. But, too much of a good thing can be bad. And too much cholesterol can lead to trouble, such as heart disease or atherosclerosis, a dangerous accumulation of cholesterol (plaques) on the walls of your arteries, which can reduce blood flow through your arteries.
Cholesterol lowering tips:
So, I make some changes in my diet from time to time. Mainly, for me, this means eliminating cheese from my diet. One other tip I got from my doctor recently was that soft cheeses are worse for cholesterol buildup than hard cheeses. So, opt for Parmesan rather than mozzarella. The other nice thing about this hard cheese swap is that hard cheeses tend to be more pungent and you need less of them, so you consume less cheese overall.
Some other hints she gave me are to swap fattier nuts for leaner nuts. Ditch the cashews and macadamia nuts, and instead eat walnuts and almonds. Totally doable. And, of course, in general, eat a diet low in saturated fats.
Some of my own tricks for reducing cholesterol are to eat more oatmeal. Oatmeal appears to cause a modest reduction in blood cholesterol. Maybe that means more oatmeal cookies in my future! Hee hee. Oats contain soluble fiber, the kind of fiber that’s been proven to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol.
One of the other tricks I’ve learned through the years, is that pectin works wonders. Pectin, you know, that stuff in jams and jellies. Yep, that’s the stuff. Some recipes to use pectin: Dried Apricot Jam, Coconut Gumdrops, and Zucchini Jam.
Pectin is a naturally sticky substance, a soluble fiber, found in fruits (like grapefruit, oranges, bananas, strawberries, peaches, and apples) and veggies (like carrots, lettuce, spinach, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, potatoes, onions, and peas) that draws cholesterol out of the system. Pectin seems to interfere with the body’s absorption of cholesterol, which helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Pectin also appears to affect enzymes in the liver so that the liver actually produces less cholesterol.
It’s naturally found in apples. You know that saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, well, there’s some truth in that. Besides the natural pectin, apples contain flavonoids, which are chemicals that help fight the accumulation of “bad” LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.
As far has big changes go, don’t fret. Concern yourself not with every meal, or even every mouthful, but with your diet as a whole.
Orange Blueberry Dried Fruit Compote:
Since I’m adding more oatmeal to my day, I thought I’d share this great Orange Blueberry Dried Fruit Compote that I like to serve on top of my morning oatmeal. It’s chock full of fruits (that contain pectin and soluble fiber), and it’s a delicious way to add flavor and healthfulness to your morning.
It’s also delicious over yogurt or cake (as a special treat).
Looking for more healthy nibbles? Try these:
Orange Blueberry Dried Fruit Compote Recipe
Orange Blueberry Dried Fruit Compote
- ¼ cup dried blueberries
- ¼ cup roughly chopped prunes
- ¼ cup figs cut in half
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Place all ingredients into a small pan, and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and looks syrupy, and the fruits are softened, about 5 minutes. Serve over hot oatmeal or cool and serve over yogurt. Garnish with orange zest or lemon zest if desired.