17 Easy Ways To Lower your Cholesterol
No matter how you look at it, in all health problems diet has a role to play. By making sure to eat the right foods, you can help reduce bad cholesterol and easily raise good cholesterol. Like most health issues, diet is not the only thing you have to look after to reach your desired goals. It may help you get to that point quicker, but there are always other things you can do to help give you that competitive advantage.
2. Olive Oil
The fat found in olives and olive oil is a type of heart-healthy fat that can lower the impact of LDL cholesterol and its inflammatory properties on your body.
It is best to use extra-virgin olive oil to replace other oils and fats in low-temperature cooking. Extra-virgin olive oil breaks down at higher temperatures making it less useful.
It is easy to use extra-virgin olive oil in sauces, dressings, and an additional flavor to food after cooking is done. You can also add some chopped olives to salads or soups to add an extra layer of flavor.
Remember to use all olive oils in moderation, and it is known to be very high in calories.
3. Beans and Legumes
Just like whole grains, beans, and legumes are a fantastic source of soluble fibers. However, not all beans are made the same. It is best to eat black beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, navy beans, lentils, and others.
Canned beans, however, contain about half as much folate as cooked dry beans. This is why it is best to buy dry beans and take the extra time to cook them at home. Since folate is an essential B vitamin, we want to keep as much of it in the beans as possible. Folate is well known to be very healthy for your heart.
Beans and legumes are widespread side dishes in many cultures, like in a salad, or in soup, they are also often used as a standalone side.
4. Whole Grains
As we mentioned above, whole grains, cereals, including bran, and brown rice, may assist in lowering your LDL as well as your total cholesterol level. This will cause HDL levels to jump up thanks to a percentage boost. All of this happens since these foods contain fiber, specifically soluble fiber, a well-known contributor to lower LDL levels.
Making sure to consume at least two servings of whole grains per day will help to reduce your LDL. This is honestly as simple as a bowl of cereal for breakfast, whole-grain bread on your sandwich at lunch, and some brown rice with dinner.
5. High-fiber Fruit
Certain Fresh Fruits are high in fiber, such as bananas, apples, and pears. These types of fruits can help decrease your LDL level and improve your HDL level.
It is effortless to slice them up and stir them into yogurt or cereal, and you can also toss them into your blender and create a delicious and heart-healthy smoothie. These fruits are just as delicious on their own too. You can easily throw them in a bag for a quick and easily transported snack while on the go.
6. Fatty Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish, can help to lower your LDL levels. It is best to go for the fattiest options:
- albacore tuna
- rainbow trout
Now it is not the best idea to have fish for every meal, but having a fish based meal at least twice a week is an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
If you can't handle the taste or smell of fish, or maybe you can't reach your omega-3 goals, talk to your doctor about fish-oil supplements. These supplements can be purchased from almost anywhere and quickly deliver more than 1,000 mg of omega-3 in each pill. Just watch out for the fishy burps they can give you.
Nearly all nuts, including almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and many others, are packed full of heart-healthy fats. Nuts are also high in fiber and contain something called plant sterols. Plant sterols are known to help block the absorption of cholesterol.
It is suggested to eat an ounce or two for a quick snack or to add them to more substantial meals.
Just remember if you are on a diet or trying to watch calories, keep your nut portions in check by measuring or weighing them since nuts are commonly high in calories.
8. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are chocked full of plant-based fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and plenty of other healthy nutrients. Only by adding chia seeds to your diet you can help lower LDL levels and reduce blood pressure.
Much like flax seed, chia seeds go great with cereal, dips, salads, or smoothies.
But unlike flax seeds, chia seeds develop a slimy texture when soaked in water. If something like that freaks you out, then consume chia seeds immediately or use them in baked goods instead of eggs.
Avocado is by far the food world's new favorite fruit. It just so happens to be one of the healthiest. Avocados have high levels of folate and monounsaturated fat. This is a healthy type of fat that helps to lower LDL and can drastically reduce risks for stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. Avocados are also packed with fiber, which can naturally help to keep cholesterol levels in check.
It is easy to add slices of Avocado to soups, salads, or sandwiches. Guacamole is also a fantastic option. But steer clear of high-calorie dippers such as tortilla chips.
Soy-based products don't have to be just for vegetarians. Incorporating soy into your diet is a perfect option to reduce meat intake. Research has shown that decreasing red meat in your diet can have a drastic effect on LDL levels. It can even help to increase HDL levels.
It is possible that this positive benefit between soy and cholesterol levels is only the result of red meat being removed from a diet, and not just because of the addition of soy specifically.
11. Red Wine
Research has shown that drinking small amounts of alcohol, including red wines, has a rather pleasant effect of helping to raise HDL levels. It has also shown promise in lowering your risk for heart disease. A "small" or moderate amount of alcohol is limited to one glass per day for women and two glasses for men.
Individuals who have high triglyceride levels shouldn't consume red wine. If you aren't already a drinker, then you shouldn't start just for the heart benefits. Links between heart disease and alcohol that are present in many studies can also be attributed to other lifestyle factors. Things such as diet and physical activity, rather than alcohol can have more significant effects on heart health.
It is important to remember that other foods such as grapes or red grape juice may contain similar components found in red wine that have been suggested to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also abundant in ground flax seeds and flaxseed oil. Many vegetarians use flax seeds to reach their omega-3 fatty acid requirements. This is due to flaxseed being one of the better plant-based sources of omega-3 fats.
Whole flax seeds are nearly impossible for your body to digest, so make sure to buy ground flax seed. Since whole flax seeds can't be digested, they will pass through your body mostly intact, and you won't be able to absorb any of the nutrients.
13. Get Moving
Get up and get moving! If exercise is one of the best ways to boost your HDL, why not do it every day? If exercise isn't something your fond of, start slow. Go for a short jog or a stroll a few times a week. Eventually, you can begin to work up in both length and pace with a goal of at least 30 minutes of walking, five times per week.
14. Losing Weight
If you exercise enough every day, a pleasant side effect of that activity is weight loss. Weight and cholesterol levels are very closely related. This is most likely because overweight individuals often don't get enough healthy foods and lack in physical activity. Only by reducing your weight you can increase levels of HDL and lower your LDL cholesterol.
15. Analyze your Genetics
Sometimes, despite all your efforts, you' l still struggle with healthy cholesterol levels. Genetics can play a significant role in your cholesterol levels, so speak with your doctor about your risks and what you can do to address them.
16. Take Care of your Digestive System
There is a plethora of new research that is showing solid links between gut flora or your microbiome and its influences on cholesterol levels. It even has shown strong relationships to heart disease risks. It is simple to add probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and Kombucha to your daily diet. These simple changes can make a stark difference in your overall health.
17. Talk with your Healthcare Provider
Before you rush out to the store and start loading up on these foods and supplements to help boost your HDL and reduce your LDL, talk with your healthcare provider. Drastic dietary changes can also have adverse effects, especially if you are already on a restricted diet or medication. You and your doctor should strategize a healthy and positive way to get cholesterol numbers headed in the right direction.
*Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
**Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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