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How To Lower Cholesterol Through Diet

What Foods Will Make My High Cholesterol Worse

Diet & Nutrition : How to Lower Your Cholesterol Through Diet

If you have high cholesterol, its most important to eat less saturated fat. Foods that are high in saturated fats are things like fatty and processed meat, pies and pastry, butter, cream, and coconut oil.

Some foods contain dietary cholesterol but surprisingly they dont make a big difference to the cholesterol in your blood. These are foods like eggs, some shellfish like prawns and crab and offal such as liver, liver pate and kidney. They are low in saturated fat and so are fine to eat as part of a healthy diet.

Find out more about cholesterol and eggs

How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally In 28 Simple Steps

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

There are tons of natural remedies out there for how to lower cholesterol levels, often promising quick results with next to no effort required on your part. But while its true that there are tons of options to keep cholesterol levels in check, it can actually be as simple as swapping out a few foods in your diet for healthier options, switching up your workout routine or adding a supplement or two into the mix.

Ready to get started? Lets take a look at 28 simple methods for how to lower cholesterol and how it can impact your health.

How Is Cholesterol Measured

Most people with high cholesterol feel perfectly well and often have no symptoms. The best way to find out if your cholesterol is high is to have a blood test .

Visit your GP to determine whether you need to lower your cholesterol level and what action to take.

GPs can also do a heart health check, that calculates your heart disease and stroke risk.

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Treatment For High Cholesterol

Making lifestyle changes, especially changing some of the foods you eat, and regular physical activity, are very important to help reduce high LDL cholesterol.

You may also need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines to help manage your cholesterol and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor about finding the most appropriate treatment for you.

Lower Your Cholesterol Whether You’re Eating Breakfast Lunch Dinner Dessert Or Even A Snack

Lower Cholesterol Through Diet And Exercise

Did you know cholesterol in food only plays a small part in increasing our bodies cholesterol levels? But what we eat has a big role to play in managing our cholesterol and heart health.Consistently poor eating habits, combined with a lack of physical activity can lead to unhealthy weight gain, which can also raise levels of unhealthy cholesterol levels and lower levels of HDL cholesterol which can negatively affect your heart health.

High-density lipoprotein is often called the good cholesterol because it helps to remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream and helps to keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries. Low-density lipoprotein is often called the bad cholesterol because it is the main source of cholesterol build-up and blockage in the arteries.

Time and time again we hear that balance is the key to health. There are some foods that can improve LDL cholesterol levels and eating these foods in moderate amounts can help keep us fighting fit. Foods containing healthier fats or soluble fibre are great examples of this. So with this in mind, here are some delicious ideas that can help you eat your way to a healthier heart.

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Apples: Rich In Fiber And Beneficial Antioxidants

As with beans, apples are an excellent source of LDL-lowering soluble fiber, primarily pectin. Research published in December 2014 in the European Journal of Nutrition also shows that eating an apple a day can slow the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. This health benefit comes thanks to antioxidant polyphenols found primarily in apple skin . Antioxidants are important because inflammation and plaque buildup in the arteries are more likely to occur when LDL cholesterol interacts with free radicals and becomes oxidized.

Dietary And Lifestyle Changes

Dietary and lifestyle changes are key to making lasting changes in cholesterol levels.

Although they do not produce results as quickly as medications do, a person may notice their cholesterol levels drop in just a few weeks or months if they stick to a healthful diet and lifestyle plan.

Increase intake of plant foods

Plant foods are rich in vitamins and nutrients, and they lack cholesterol.

Most plant foods also lack saturated fats, which may increase cholesterol in the body.

A review published in noted that people who ate vegetarian diets had significantly lower cholesterol levels compared with omnivores.

The authors also noted that some targeted diets using plant foods might cause stronger effects.

For example, a diet rich in soluble fiber, plant sterols, and vegetable protein sources, such as soy and nuts, reduced LDL cholesterol by an average of 28.6% in just 4 weeks.

These effects continue over the long term. A review in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases estimated that this type of diet reduces the 10-year risk of coronary heart disease by about 13%.

People who need to reduce their cholesterol quickly can work with a dietitian to create a targeted diet plan.

Increase fiber intake

While adding plant foods to the diet increases fiber intake naturally, it may also be helpful to take a fiber supplement or over-the-counter fiber drink to support the body.

Fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and may help prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol.

Avoid trans fats

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Fried Foods And Highly Processed Foods

There is little to no room in a low cholesterol diet for fried foods, fast food, and highly processed foods. Everything in moderation is acceptable, but if youre trying to reduce LDL levels, eliminating foods high in cholesterol like deep-fried items, chips, deli meat, bacon, and hot dogs, can go a long way in keeping your cholesterol levels in check.

How Can I Lower Cholesterol With Diet

How to Reduce Cholesterol Through Diet

Heart-healthy lifestyle changes include a diet to lower your cholesterol. The DASH eating plan is one example. Another is the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, which recommends that you

Choose healthier fats.You should limit both total fat and saturated fat. No more than 25 to 35% of your daily calories should come from dietary fats, and less than 7% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. Depending upon how many calories you eat per day, here are the maximum amounts of fats that you should eat:

Calories per Day
69-97 grams 17 grams

Saturated fat is a bad fat because it raises your LDL level more than anything else in your diet. It is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.

Trans fat is another bad fat it can raise your LDL and lower you HDL . Trans fat is mostly in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats, such as stick margarine, crackers, and french fries.

Instead of these bad fats, try healthier fats, such as lean meat, nuts, and unsaturated oils like canola, olive, and safflower oils.

Limit foods with cholesterol. If you are trying to lower your cholesterol, you should have less than 200 mg a day of cholesterol. Cholesterol is in foods of animal origin, such as liver and other organ meats, egg yolks, shrimp, and whole milk dairy products.

Eat plenty of soluble fiber. Foods high in soluble fiber help prevent your digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. These foods include

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Drink Alcohol In Moderation

It’s true that drinking alcohol in moderation can bring heart-healthy benefits. For example, research has found that a glass of wine can raise HDL cholesterol levels.

It should be noted, however, that the correlation is not strong enough to recommend drinking alcohol to those who do not drink.

Too much alcohol, however, can increase LDL cholesterol levels. If you’re worried about your cholesterol levels, you should follow the recommended limit, which is one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Is Fasting Good For High Cholesterol

Intermittent fasting alternates between periods of eating and periods of fasting. The fasting method you follow depends on goals and comfort level. For example, some people follow the 16/8 method, which involves fasting daily for 16 hours and eating for 8 hours. Another popular fasting style is the eat-stop-eat method which requires fasting for 24 hours once or twice per week.

When it comes to fasting and high cholesterol, one2021 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition found that intermittent fasting may protect cardiovascular health by improving lipid profile. More specifically, the researchers found that it raises HDL levels, which is the good or protective cholesterol.

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Understanding Good And Bad’ Cholesterol

Cholesterol has a bad reputation, but the truth is it is an essential part of the body that helps build hormones, make vitamin D, and produce bile acids in the liver, which is crucial for digestion.

In fact, according to the American Heart Association, the liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs to function. But cholesterol also enters the body through the animal-based foods you eat, like meat and full-dairy products.

To get your levels under control, it’s important to understand that cholesterol travels through the blood by substances called lipoproteins, and there are two main types:

  • LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol because when the body has too much LDL cholesterol, it can build up in your arteries and block the flow of blood, which increases your risk for heart disease or stroke.
  • HDL is called “good” cholesterol because it helps transport LDL cholesterol to the liver, where it can be removed before it builds up in the arteries. The higher the level of HDL cholesterol, the lower the risk of heart disease.

In general, what you’re aiming for is the right HDL-to-LDL ratio. But it takes more than just watching the cholesterol content of the foods you eat.

While one may think lowering cholesterol levels is all about prohibiting cholesterol-rich foods from your diet, that’s only a small factor.

Healthy Eating Tips To Lower Cholesterol

Hdlcholesterol How To Reduce Cholesterol Through Diet And ...

As well as sticking to a varied and healthy diet, try these tips to help you manage your cholesterol:

  • Limit takeaway foods to once a week .
  • Limit salty, fatty and sugary snack foods to once a week .
  • Eat plenty of vegetables aim for 5 serves of vegetables every day. .
  • Choose wholegrain breads, cereal, pasta, rice and noodles.
  • Snack on plain, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit .
  • Include legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, split peas), beans into at least two meals a week. Check food labels and choose the lowest sodium products.
  • Use spreads and margarines made from healthy unsaturated fats instead of those made with saturated fat .
  • Use healthy oils for cooking some include canola, sunflower, soybean, olive , sesame and peanut oils.
  • Use salad dressings and mayonnaise made from oils such as canola, sunflower, soybean, olive , sesame and peanut oils.
  • Include 2 or 3 serves of plant-sterol-enriched foods every day .
  • Have 2 to 3 portions of oily fish every week. Fish may be fresh, frozen or canned.
  • Include up to 7 eggs every week.
  • Select lean meat and limit unprocessed red meat to less than 350g per week.
  • Choose reduced fat, no added sugar milk, yoghurt, or calcium-added non-dairy food and drinks.
  • Limit or avoid processed meats including sausages and deli meats .

If you are having trouble with your cholesterol levels, a dietitian can help you to eat healthily for your specific needs.

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How Long Does It Take Cholesterol To Go Down

People who need to use medications such as statins to lower their cholesterol should see their cholesterol levels fall quickly.

These medications may work in a matter of weeks, and they generally work to a larger degree than lifestyle changes.

However, because diet affects the levels of cholesterol in the body, doctors commonly recommend that people make changes to their diet and lifestyle in addition to taking medications.

Making simple changes to the diet and lifestyle can help reduce cholesterol.

These changes vary depending on how strictly a person adheres to their diet, as well as other factors, such as exercise and weight loss.

Some dietary changes may cause minor reductions in cholesterol in as little as

Dietary and lifestyle changes and medications can all help lower blood cholesterol levels.

Some Foods To Focus On When Trying To Reduce Cholesterol

Holistically speaking, the Mediterranean diet appears to help keep cholesterol levels healthy however, there are some specific foods that are standouts when it comes to protecting your heart health and following this dietary pattern.

One of those foods is extra virgin olive oil. The Mediterranean diet is rich in healthy fats that come predominantly from olive oil and is extremely low in saturated and trans-fats. Olive oil is the main fat source consumed on this diet. And along with the healthy fats that it provides, it is also rich in antioxidants and is salt-free. The combination of these unique facts can play a big role in the heart-health benefit that it offers.

Another Mediterranean diet food group that has been linked to lower cholesterol levels is whole grains. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating whole grains lowered LDL cholesterol more than eating refined grainswith the greatest benefit seen when people ate whole grain oats.

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When To See Your Doctor

If you have a family history of high cholesterol, and are concerned about your own levels, its a good idea to see your healthcare provider. High levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease. Some people have familial hypercholesterolemia , which is an inherited disorder that makes it more challenging to remove low-density lipoprotein cholesterol from your blood. This results in high LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

Red Meats And Processed Meats

How To Lower Your Cholesterol Through Your Diet

Aim to reduce or eliminate animal products such as fatty cuts of beef or red meat and processed meat such as sausage and hot dogs. Examples of red meat with a higher saturated fat and cholesterol content include steak, beef roast, full-fat ground beef, and ribs.

If youre going to eat animal proteins, opt for lean meats like turkey, chicken , and pork loin. Healthier red meats like 90% lean ground beef and lean cuts of beef like tenderloin and flank steak are good alternatives to fatty cuts of red meat.

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Can You Lower Your Cholesterol Just By Changing Your Diet

Statins are used to lower cholesterol but how much can be achieved with changes to diet alone, asks Michael Mosley.

Over the many years that I’ve been making science documentaries I’ve covered a huge range of subjects, but there is one that is of particular personal interest. My family tree is riddled with heart disease and I know that, unchecked, my cholesterol scores tend to soar.

I am not alone – 60% of people in Britain have cholesterol levels that are too high and increasingly we are recommended to go on statins. Yet statins have side effects and many people are reluctant to go on a lifetime of pills.

So, for the current series of Trust Me, I’m a Doctor, we wanted to see if you could lower your cholesterol just as effectively by changing your diet.

We asked Dr Scott Harding from Kings College London to help us set up and run a small study. With his help we recruited 42 volunteers, all of whom had concerns about their cholesterol and were keen to see what they could do without taking medication.

We started by taking blood samples to look at their current levels of total cholesterol.

Cholesterol is complicated stuff. Most of it is made in the liver and then sent to the cells that need it, bound to a lipoprotein called LDL .

LDL is often called “bad cholesterol” because high levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. HDL is known as “good cholesterol” because it carries cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver.

Cook With Herbs And Spices

Herbs and spices are nutritional powerhouses packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Human studies have shown that garlic, turmeric and ginger are especially effective at lowering cholesterol when eaten regularly .

In fact, eating just one garlic clove per day for three months is enough to lower total cholesterol by 9% .

In addition to lowering cholesterol, herbs and spices contain antioxidants that prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, reducing the formation of plaques within your arteries .

Even though herbs and spices are not typically eaten in large quantities, they can contribute significantly to the total amount of antioxidants consumed each day .

Dried oregano, sage, mint, thyme, clove, allspice and cinnamon contain some of the highest numbers of antioxidants, as well as fresh herbs such as oregano, marjoram, dill and cilantro .

Summary Both fresh and dried herbs and spices can help lower cholesterol levels. They contain antioxidants that prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidation.

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Cholesterol And Healthy Eating

What we eat has an impact on our cholesterol levels and can help reduce our risk of disease. Try to eat a wide variety of foods from each of the five food groups. Not only does this help to maintain a healthy and interesting diet, but it provides essential nutrients to the body.

The Heart Foundation recommends:

  • Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains.
  • A variety of healthy protein sources , legumes , nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure it is lean and limit to 1-3 times a week.
  • Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. Those with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.
  • Healthy fat choices nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking
  • Herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt.

Also, be mindful on how much you are eating and whether you are filling up on unhealthy foods. Portion sizes have increased over time and many of us are eating more than we need which can lead to obesity and increase our risk of cardiovascular disease.

Ideally, a healthy plate would include servings of ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates and ½ vegetables.

Serving size can vary depending on age, gender and specific nutrition needs.

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