Chinese Food and Your Cholesterol

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People who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol or triglycerides don’t automatically have to give up eating Chinese foods. Although some Chinese food is high in fat and cholesterol, many options exist for those who must keep an eye on these things.

This is especially true of highly Americanized Chinese food. These foods are typically high in sugar and fat in addition to being fried or battered. They are light on vegetables while being heavy on starches and meat. The portion sizes are much too large as well.

Restaurants that serve traditional Chinese food opt for smaller portions, more vegetables, and healthier cooking techniques. Making a point to select authentic Chinese food can lower cholesterol levels and even help diners to lose weight. Bypassing soy sauce, MSG, and added salt while partaking in Chinese food also help to keep sodium and cholesterol levels low.


{Image Credit: Tea Tree Mushroom in Mini Flaming Pot by Z & Y Restaurant)

Making Smart Choices When Dining at a Chinese Restaurant

Learning to eat in a new way to reduce cholesterol intake can be challenging. One practical tip is for diners to select dishes laden with vegetables whenever possible. This shouldn’t be too difficult since vegetables are a staple in the Chinese diet. Mushrooms, sprouts, onions, and peppers are especially common, but it makes a difference how the cook prepares them. Vegetables cooked in oil or as part of a stir fry have more fat than those that are steamed or roasted. Some other smart dining tips include:

  • Avoid fried foods like wontons and egg rolls since they contain a high amount of fat and cholesterol.
  • Make vegetables the main dish and meat and rice the side dishes.
  • Use chopsticks instead of silverware for main and side dishes since this slows down the pace of eating and allows diners to feel full faster.
  • Eat a broth-based soup as an appetizer since it is the most filling.


Choosing a Healthy Appetizer and Main Dish

If the restaurant serves soup or another appetizer before the main meal, it is important to limit consumption of egg drop or wonton soup. A single serving does not contain a large amount of saturated fat, but multiple refills isn’t a good idea for someone watching their cholesterol. Adding extra fried noodles or sauce to an appetizer makes the fat content add up quickly, as does fried foods such as egg rolls.

When it comes to selecting meat for the main dish, diners should remember that red meat and pork contain the most fat and calories. Poultry and seafood would be a better choice. Opting for brown rice over white rice is also a good option since it contains more fiber. Foods that are low in fiber are often high in cholesterol. Asking the server for sauces on the side instead of over the main dish helps to reduce fat and calorie intake as well.

An appetizer and a main course should be plenty to feel satisfied. People who are watching their cholesterol would be wise to politely refuse any offer of dessert.


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