Wednesday, July 30, 2014

More Info for Less Cholesterol - Poultry and Fish/Seafood

Now that I know I'm ok in the red meat dept. it's time to look at the meats that I do eat the most which are poultry, fish and seafood.  One of these may be the cause of my raised cholesterol level.  So here is what I found.

Skinless, white poultry is only about 20% fat.  Only 19% of the calories in trout are fat, and only 6% of those in water-packed tuna are fat.  In addition, poultry and seafood, with the exception of shrimp, are generally lower in cholesterol than red meat.  Although shrimp is high in cholesterol, many medical professionals now feel that the healthful benefits of fish oil allow shrimp to be eaten on a moderate basis.

A 3 1/2 oz. serving of cooked trout yields 55 mg. of cholesterol; halibut 60 mg.; and chicken 79 mg.  Four ounces of cod contains just 57 mg. and 3 oz. of tuna just 54 mg.   While 4 oz. of sirloin steak contains 107 mg.  (One of my favorite fish is the cod.  I usually buy the thicker 'choice' cuts which are a little more expensive but still cheaper than a prime cut of steak and a lot healthier.)

To insure that you lower your fat and cholesterol as much as possible, follow these steps:
1.  Reduce poultry and seafood portions in size.  Although lower in cholesterol than red meat, poultry and seafood are still sources of cholesterol.  (As much as I love a good piece of fish it's hard for me to keep the portions to 3 1/2 oz.  As for the chicken, I love chicken but to me chicken has no flavor of its own so I try to provide it with flavor which I'll have to be careful of so I don't increase the fat and cholesterol.  As for eating just 3 1/2 oz. that isn't a problem.  I often just bake my chicken with some herbs and add it to a good salad.)

2. Always cook poultry without the skin so that the fat in the skin doesn't drip into the meat.  (This is no problem for me since I almost always buy skinless chicken.)

3.  Select the white meat of the chicken or turkey rather than the dark meat, as the white is lower in cholesterol.  (This really isn't a problem since I don't like dark meat.  I know it does have a little more flavor and is juicy but I can't bring myself to eat a piece of dark meat.  Too many things still attached to the meat that you don't find in white meats.)

4.  Broil, roast, bake, steam, poach or barbecue poultry and seafood as these methods allow the fat to drip away during cooking.  (This is where my pan with the rack comes in handy.  I used to boil my chicken but found that even with seasonings added the meat was dry and lacked flavor.  I now place my chicken as well as my fish on the rack and bake.  It is juicier and cooks fairly quickly.  Yes the fat drips into the pan but it still comes out juicy.  This is also the way I make baked 'fried' chicken.  The rack allows the batter to stay crispy.)

5.  Use wine, herbs, lemon juice or flavored vinegar, rather than margarine, oils and sauces to flavor poultry and seafood dishes.  (I do use the herbs, especially rosemary, to flavor my chicken.  My fish I coat with an egg wash, dip it into Panko and then cook it in the oven using my baking rack.  It cooks quickly, comes out crisp and is delicious with a little Malt Vinegar sprinkled on top.)

6.  Avoid packaged, canned or frozen poultry and seafood dishes.  (There again, after seeing the salt content on the package of most packaged foods, I've completely stopped buying them.)

7.  When ordering seafood and poultry in restaurants, avoid any sauces and gravies, and select only heart-healthy cooking methods.  (I normally order grilled chicken when eating out but have to admit that I do order fried fish.  I just have to have that kick now and then.  When I do order chicken that has been fried I always order the white meat and try really hard to eat just the meat and not the crust or skin.  Hard to do so I don't order this often.)

I haven't been able to bring myself to eat food that use ground chicken or turkey but I have made Chicken Chili and I have to tell you it is delicious.  I've even added a recipe for it on my site Think With Your Taste Buds - Chicken.  I'll continue to find healthier ways to eat my chicken, fish and seafood and continue to stay away form red meats.  Nest I'm going to investigate other ways to reduce cholesterol and fat through the substitution of oils and salad dressings.

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