Is cholesterol bad for you? Many people would think the answer is obvious: Yes! But it’s actually more complicated than that. As part of our sequence on Heart Health, the senior participants in Health 360 learned about the connection between cholesterol and heart disease. There are three main highlights:
- Where does it come from? Our bodies make cholesterol, in addition to the cholesterol we get from foods. This is because cholesterol plays an important role in several biological functions, including hormone production, cell membrane structure, and digestion of fats.
- Is it all bad? There are two types of cholesterol: “Good” HDL cholesterol and bad “LDL” cholesterol. It’s only when we have too much bad cholesterol and/or too little good cholesterol that it becomes a health risk. Under these conditions, bad cholesterol can build up as plaque in the arteries and contribute to heart disease.
- What role does diet play? There are dietary choices that help support good cholesterol levels. Eat a heart-healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Healthy sources of fat include olive oil and other vegetable oils, avocado, fish, and nuts and seeds.
Perhaps surprisingly, the cholesterol contained in high-cholesterol foods — such as eggs, shrimp, and duck — does not contribute directly to high cholesterol levels. Harvard Health Publications concluded, “If you like eggs, eating one a day should be okay, especially if you cut back on saturated and trans fats. Other ways to enjoy eggs without worrying about cholesterol include not eating the yolk, which contains all the cholesterol.” After learning this, we made healthy devilled eggs using eggs from the BSCAH coop and yogurt instead of mayonnaise, to cut back on fat. Here’s the recipe, which you can enjoy at home!
Healthy Devilled Eggs
6 eggs, preferably farm fresh
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons plain full fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons grain mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped herbs of your choice
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
Place eggs in pot and cover with water. Add 2 T salt and bring to boil. After eggs have boiled for 1 minute, turn off the heat and allow the eggs to sit in water for 6 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Peel eggs and cut in half, separating yolks and whites.
In a bowl combine yolks, olive oil, yogurt, mustard, celery, onion, and herbs. Mix until smooth, then season with salt and pepper.
Fill whites with yolk mixture. Garnish with paprika if desired.
*A nice variation is to add 1-2 teaspoons of curry powder or 1 tsp of red chili flakes.