Your total cholesterol levels are important indicators of your cardiovascular health, as they are reliable indicators of your risk for problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. To maintain healthy cholesterol levels, you need to be aware of how the foods you eat -- for example, calamari -- affect your cholesterol.
Cholesterol plays an important role in your health, carrying raw materials to different parts of your body for use in your daily body functions. However, unhealthy LDL cholesterol can clump in your bloodstream. High levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to hardening and blockages of the arteries, forcing your heart to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. By contrast, HDL, is healthy cholesterol that improves your circulatory health by cleaning contaminants -- including LDL cholesterol -- out of your bloodstream.
Your body produces cholesterol in response to the presence of fats in your diet. Eating saturated fats stimulates your body to produce harmful LDL cholesterol. According to MayoClinic.com, research shows that unsaturated fats can improve blood cholesterol levels. Eat omega-3 fatty acids can help raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol. This type of healthy fat is found in fish, olive oil, olives, flaxseed and avocados.
Calamari and Cholesterol
According to the USDA, a typical 3-ounce serving of fried calamari contains 1.6 grams of saturated fat and 5 grams of unsaturated fat. Saturated fat can elevate your levels of harmful LDL cholesterol; calamari contains more than three times as much unsaturated fat as saturated fat. The bottom line is that calamari is good for your cholesterol if you have a healthy cholesterol level, but if you already have high cholesterol, you will want to stick with foods that contain less saturated fat and consume calamari only as an occasional treat.
The USDA nutrition information is based on unbreaded, fried calamari. Many cooking methods call for breading, deep frying or covering the calamari with rich sauces. All these methods can add significant amounts of extra saturated fat to your meal, increasing the cholesterol.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.