Ways to Enjoy South American Food on a Lipid Lowering Diet

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South American cuisine is gaining popularity as a delicious cuisine in the United States, with an increasing number of restaurants opening that feature these dishes. South American cooking contains a variety of healthy foods, including peppers, potatoes, onions, and tropical fruit, such as mangos, papaya, and pineapple. Additionally, heart-healthy seasonings like cumin, nutmeg, cilantro, chili powder, and paprika, are also mixed in many of these meals to give them a spicy and refreshing flavor.

As with other types of cuisine, there are some types of South American foods that may cause your cholesterol levels to increase. This guide will show you how to incorporate South American-inspired foods in your cholesterol-lowering diet.

Soups

South American soups are loaded with fresh veggies and legumes. Many soups may also contain quinoa, a heart-healthy grain that is high in fiber and protein. Soups are typically slow cooked and seasoned with cholesterol-friendly spices like cilantro, cumin, and other spices. Despite the healthy ingredients in these soups, there are also some ingredients added to the soups that may affect your cholesterol. For instance, some soups may contain beef or pork – both of which can add fat to the soup. Therefore, these should be minimized, or avoided, if you are watching your fat intake.

Salads

South American-inspired salads are also healthy and contain generous amounts of vegetables.

Some salads may also contain legumes or whole grains, such as quinoa or whole grain rice. 

Sides & Appetizers

There are many tasty and spicy sides and appetizers in South American cuisine, with many of them fitting in nicely into a cholesterol-lowering diet. Salsas – which are usually made with a tomato and onion base – are widely used on chips, breads, and other foods and can have a lot of variation, sometimes including fruit, beans, and other vegetables.

Some appetizers, such as those that are fried, should be avoided if you are following a low-fat diet. Additionally, some appetizers and sides are served with a cream-based sauce – which can be another source of added fat to your meal. 

Main Course

For the most part, the entrees found in South American cuisine are also high in nutrients and low in fat. Roasting, grilling, baking, and sautéing are the most common ways to prepare foods such as vegetable and proteins. A nice combination of spices are used to add flavor to the foods. Salt is also used in the preparation of some of these dishes, so if you are following a low-sodium diet, you should check the salt content before consuming. Many types of whole grains, including barley and rice, are also used. There are some things to note, however, if you are following a cholesterol-lowering diet:

  • Some foods, such as tamales, may be made with shortening – which may introduce trans fats into your diet. You should avoid the use of shortening if at all possible.
  • Some recipes may call for the addition of chorizo, queso or are con carne. These words refer to sausage, cheese, and meat, respectively – all of which can add saturated fat to your diet. To reduce the amount of fat being introduced into your meal, you should substitute lean meats and low-fat cheese for these items.
  • If you would like to add extra fiber to your diet, swap out flour tortillas and white rice for whole grain varieties.

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