Lowering cholesterol by becoming more aware of the foods we eat and how they are prepared can impact the health of your heart in a positive way and is a simple change that doesn’t have to take away from the enjoyment of eating. Making a few small changes to your diet will not only lower cholesterol, but also leave one feeling more energized ultimately increasing life satisfaction. Including high fiber foods, omega-3 fatty acids, and variety of nuts in your diet are few simple changes that can greatly improve ones health and lower cholesterol.
High Fiber Foods
“Bad” cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), can be reduced by including soluble fiber foods like oats, kidney beans, apples, barley and prunes to your diet. Eating 5-10 grams of foods containing soluble fiber a day can reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed into the blood stream.
Oats and oatmeal, especially steel cut oats, are high in soluble fiber and a small bowl in the morning topped with fresh fruits like bananas, apples or pears will provide enough fiber to greatly reduce cholesterol levels.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fatty fish contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and can reduce the development of blood clots , lower blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks.
According to the American Heart association eating several serving of salmon, trout, halibut or other fish high in omega-3 fatty acids can impact the heart in a positive healthy way.
To receive the most benefits from these fish they should be prepared by grilling or baking to avoid adding unhealthy fats. Not a fish fan? Fish oil supplements can produce some of the same benefits. Eating vegetables and lean meats will add important nutrients like selenium that are lacking in supplements.
Eating a Variety of Nuts
Nuts such as walnuts and almonds are filled with polyunsaturated fatty aids, which not only help reduce cholesterol, but also strengthen blood vessels.
A half a cup a day of almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios or other nuts that are not covered in sugar or salt can strengthen the heart and lower the risk of heart disease.
Replacing cheeses, meats and croutons in salads with almonds or another nut will help keep calories down and replace unhealthy fats with polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Sautéing vegetables in olive oil instead of butter will lower your LDL intake. Adding olive oil to marinades and vinaigrette salad dressing are another way to include this healthy oil into your diet.
Using extra virgin olive oil instead of light olive oil will also add to the health benefits of this oil due to different the processing methods of the two oils. Light olive oils contain more fats and calories than extra virgin olive oils.
Plant Sterols and Stanols
Sterols and stanols are being added to foods including margarines, orange juice and yogurt drinks because of their ability to inhibit cholesterol absorption. They can decrease the amount of bad cholesterol absorption by 10 percent by sampling drinking two 8 oz glasses of orange juice containing plant sterol.
Other Changes to Your Diet and Lifestyle
What about the foods you should cut out of your diet. Eating the previous mention foods will not have the desired impact if your diet is still filled with saturated fats found in store bought bake goods, meats and dairy. An exercise routine will also greatly benefit your as well as not smoking and following other recommendations given by a health care professional.
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