Foods That Lower Cholesterol
Have you been told you have high cholesterol? High blood cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and other serious health problems.
There are steps that everyone can take to improve their cholesterol levels, and help prevent heart disease and heart attack.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet with plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Avoid saturated fats (found mostly in animal products) and trans-fatty acids (found in fast foods and commercially baked products). Instead, choose unsaturated fats
- Exercise regularly to help raise your HDL ("good" cholesterol)
- Get periodic health checkups and cholesterol screenings
- Lose weight if you are overweight
- Quit smoking
You Should Know:
There are many types of cholesterol. The ones talked about most are:
- Total cholesterol - all the cholesterols combined
- High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol - often called "good guys" cholesterol
- Low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol - often called "bad guys" cholesterol
Try These Foods:
Many people can lower their cholesterol levels just by changing their diet or exercising, while others may need cholesterol medication. Always consult your doctor before taking any medications.
Oats - Lowering your cholesterol may be just as easy as changing your morning meal. Two servings of oats can lower LDL "bad" cholesterol in only 6-8 weeks. Beta-Glucan, a substance found in oats, absorbs "bad" cholesterol which your body then excretes.
Salmon & Fatty Fish - Changing your diet doesn't mean you have to eat tasteless foods---just change the foods you do eat! Salmon and other fatty fish are one of the natural health wonders of the world. That being said, it's no surprise that eating more fish high in omega-3s has been shown to ward off heart disease and dementia while lowering cholesterol. Replacing saturated "bad" fats with heart-healthy Omega-3s can actually raise your HDL "good" cholesterol as much as 4%. However, if you are at high risk of heart disease try to avoid lobster. Only 3 ounces of lobster has 61 mg of cholesterol (before you dip it in butter).
Nuts - In a study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate 1.5 ounces of whole walnuts 6 days a week for 1 month lowered their total cholesterol by 5.4% and LDL cholesterol by 9.3%. Almonds and cashews are other good options. However, while nuts are heart-healthy, they're also high in calories, so practice portion control.
Olive, Vegetable, and Flaxseed Oil - Instead of cooking your next meal in butter, use one of these heart-healthy oils which are high in omega-3s and monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats protect against heart disease, diabetes and decrease bad cholesterol.
Pomegranate Juice - Women's Health Magazine reported on a new study from the journal Clinical Nutrition. Researchers found that pomegranate juice reduces cholesterol plaque buildup and increases nitric oxide production (nitric oxide helps reduce clogging of the arteries), making it a great cholesterol lowering food. Pomegranates start their peak season in October, so watch the grocery stores to get the finest pick!
Information obtained from the University of Tennessee Medical Center and can be located at http://www.utmedicalcenter.org/healthy-tips/112/foods-that-lower-cholesterol/