What on earth have you been eating? If you have high cholesterol, you’ve probably been eating foods that are contributing to the problem. The good news is, food may have increased your cholesterol level and food may also lower the levels. With wise food choices, the bad fats in your bloodstream will disappear.
A Quick Lesson in Cholesterol
You’ve probably heard it before – The low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is what needs to be lowered. This is the cholesterol-carrying particle that causes the problems. LDL cholesterol leads to blocked arteries and atherosclerosis. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) on the other hand, is what is commonly called “good cholesterol” and carries the cholesterol back to the liver where it is flushed from the body. High HDL can decrease the chances of heart attack and stroke.
Ways to Lower Cholesterol
Soluble fiber binds cholesterol in your digestive tract and eliminates it from your body before it has a chance to get into your circulation. Polyunsaturated fats directly lower LDL. The body can be blocked from absorbing cholesterol by plant sterols and stanols.
And Now the Foods:
- Eat your oats – maybe you’ve seen the Cheerios commercial. Well, it’s true; oat-based cereal like Cheerios or a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast does help lower cholesterol.
- Whole grains – such as barley, quinoa, and millet have soluble fiber which helps lower the risk of heart disease.
- Beans – no doubt you remember the children’s ditty, “Beans, beans good for your heart . . .” Turns out they are very good for your heart. They have soluble fiber and since they take longer to digest they help you feel fuller longer.
- Nuts – 5% of your LDL may be lowered with a handful of nuts daily. Just 2 ounces of almonds, walnuts, peanuts, or others will boost your chances of not having a stroke or heart attack.
- Citrus fruits – along with apples, grapes, and strawberries are pectin-rich. LDL is lowered by the soluble fiber, pectin.
- Sterols and stanols – these plant extracts are being added to all types of foods including granola bars, chocolate, and orange juice. These extracts inhibit the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from foods and can lower your LDL cholesterol by around 10%.
- Fatty fish – two or three times a week takes the place of your meat intake for those days. It also delivers the LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. You’ll find the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon, and halibut.
Changing your eating habits can save your life, make you healthier and happier. You can find delicious recipes for all the LDL-lowering foods listed. Incorporating these foods into your diet and eliminating or substantially lowering those foods that lead to high cholesterol will keep your heart beating strong for years to come.
At Family Diagnostic Clinic we promote healthy lifestyles for our patients. Adopting a healthier lifestyle can be fun and delicious. You’ll notice a pep in your step, you’ll sleep better and feel better. Call us for more information on how you can improve your health.