Set Yourself Up For Success
To set yourself up for success, Kurzrock says its a good idea to purge your refrigerator and pantry of any high-fat, processed foods that are especially tempting.
A lot of people torture themselves by keeping chips and cookies in their pantry. Dont do that to yourself. You have to do what you can to help yourself sustain a healthy lifestyle, she says.
That also means doing things like not grocery shopping when you are hungry, as you will be tempted to make unhealthy impulse purchases. You also need to make sure you have a consistent eating schedule.
Try not to go more than four hours without eating as this will help keep your blood sugar in better control. Youll make wiser food decisions if your blood sugar level stays balanced, she says.
Nuts Especially Almonds And Walnuts
Nuts are another exceptionally nutrient-dense food.
Theyre very high in monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are also rich in the plant variety of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat associated with heart health .
Almonds and other nuts are particularly rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that helps your body make nitric oxide. This, in turn, helps regulate blood pressure .
Whats more, nuts provide phytosterols. These plant compounds are structurally similar to cholesterol and help lower cholesterol by blocking its absorption in your intestines.
Calcium, magnesium and potassium, also found in nuts, may reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease.
In an analysis of 25 studies, eating 23 servings of nuts per day decreased bad LDL cholesterol by an average of 10.2 mg/dl .
Eating a daily serving of nuts is linked to a 28% lower risk of both fatal and nonfatal heart disease .
Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are excellent sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s bolster heart health by increasing good HDL cholesterol and lowering inflammation and stroke risk.
In one large, 25-year study in adults, those who ate the most non-fried fish were the least likely to develop metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that includes high blood pressure and low good HDL levels .
In another large study in older adults, those who ate tuna or other baked or broiled fish at least once a week had a 27% lower risk of stroke .
Which Foods Can Lower Cholesterol Quickly
No single food is going to change your cholesterol levels overnight. It can take months to see lower cholesterol levels through dietary changes alone or combined with physical activity. Focus on an overall heart-healthy diet by including foods high in fiber, healthy unsaturated fats, and antioxidants.
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Puree Fruits And Veggies For Baking
Pureed fruits or vegetables can be used in place of oil in muffin, cookie, cake and snack bar recipes to give your treats an extra healthy boost. For many recipes, use the specified amount of puree instead of oil. Check the mixs package or your cookbooks substitutions page for other conversions. You can:
- Use applesauce in spice muffins or oatmeal cookies.
- Include bananas in breads and muffins.
- Try zucchini in brownies.
Reduce Cholesterol Without Statins With Exercise
In addition to helping you reduce stress, exercise has a very positive impact on the physical fitness of individuals with dyslipidemia, and therefore it reduces cholesterol levels. The optimal mode, frequency, intensity and duration of exercise for improvement of cholesterol levels are, however, yet to be identified.
Nevertheless, studies on the subject confirm the beneficial effects of regular physical activity on cholesterol levels, as it aids in the prevention and management of elevated levels of cholesterol while reducing the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and coronary artery disease.
Overall, you should be as physically active as possible, but just 30 minutes a day will help reduce cholesterol levels.
Finally, keep in mind that if you want to reduce cholesterol without statins, then you must let go of bad habits and improve your overall lifestyle.
Dark Chocolate Instead Of Milk Chocolate
If youre a chocoholic trying to stick to a heart-healthy diet, opt for the dark stuff. While milk chocolate contains saturated fat that can raise your LDL cholesterol, you can choose dark chocolate and skip most of the fat. Studies have shown that dark chocolate may actually boost your HDL cholesterol, too. Cocoa butter contains oleic acid, a healthier monounsaturated fat like that in olive oil. Additionally, cocoa may lower LDL cholesterol in people at risk for heart disease. Just make sure the dark chocolate you choose has 70 to 80 percent cacao, suggests Chauncey Crandall, MD, cardiologist at the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center and the Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
An English Muffin Instead Of A Croissant
Those flaky, perfectly shaped croissants look delicate and delicious at the bakery, but the layers of flour and butter equal a big mistake if youre watching your cholesterol. Butter is high in cholesterol-raising saturated fat, while a whole grain English muffin not only has less saturated fat, but also adds around 4 g of heart-healthy fiber. Making this swap will put you well on your way to the American Heart Associations recommended 25 g of fiber a day to help lower your cholesterol.
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Eat Foods Rich In Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber is found in large quantities in beans, legumes, whole grains, flax, apples and citrus .
Humans lack the proper enzymes to break down soluble fiber, so it moves through your digestive tract, absorbing water and forming a thick paste.
As it travels, soluble fiber absorbs bile, a substance produced by your liver to help digest fats. Eventually, both the fiber and attached bile are excreted in your stool.
Bile is made from cholesterol, so when your liver needs to make more bile it pulls cholesterol out of your bloodstream, which lowers cholesterol levels naturally.
Regular soluble fiber consumption is associated with a 510% reduction in both total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol in as little as four weeks .
Its recommended to eat at least 510 grams of soluble fiber each day for the maximum cholesterol-lowering effects, but benefits have been seen at even lower intakes of 3 grams per day .
Summary Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol by preventing reabsorption of bile in your gut, which leads to the excretion of bile in the feces. Your body pulls cholesterol from the bloodstream to make more bile, therefore reducing levels.
Scallops Instead Of Red Meat
Swapping out red meat for fish especially fattier varieties, like salmon may contribute to lower cholesterol numbers overall, says Sue Gebo, RD, MPH, a nutrition expert and assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Connecticut Medical School in Hartford.
Scallops are a particularly healthy substitute because they’re among the lowest in fat of all fish choices, so you’ll save on calories, too. Plus, Gebo adds, they have a rich texture and a very satisfying flavor, especially when theyre grilled.
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Getting Started With The Low Cholesterol Diet Plan
When talking about cholesterol, you may have heard of LDL and HDL. In laymans terms, LDL is bad cholesterol and HDL is the good cholesterol. We also need to watch out for our triglycerides, because high triglycerides along with high LDL levels will increase our risk for heart disease.
I know you dont want to hear about what foods to avoid cos it gets depressing. So, Id like to share with you foods that actually help lower your bad cholesterol.
The Dangers Of Statin Drugs
Over 900 studies have been published demonstrating the harmful side effects of the use of status.
A recent study published in Atherosclerosis shows that there is a 52% absolute increase in risk of atherosclerosis in people who started taking statin drugs. At the time of the study, none of the studys participants had any known cardiovascular disease.
In another study published in Diabetic Care, patients with type 2 diabetes and advanced atherosclerosis who used statins frequently had significantly higher amounts of arterial plaque when compared to patients who did not use statins as often. In a sub-group of participants not taking statins, the rate at which arterial plaque developed increased when they began taking statins.
Other studies have also documented serious side effects, including the following:
- Liver and pancreas failure due to increased enzymes caused by statin intake
- Muscle damage that can lead to loss of muscle cells, kidney failure and death
- Increased blood sugar and higher risk of type-2 diabetes
- Memory loss, depression, forgetfulness and other neurological side effects that have been seen to stop once the use of statins is also stopped
- Sexual dysfunction
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Foods Fortified With Plant Sterols And Stanols
Plant sterols and stanols are compounds naturally found in small amounts in many plant-based foods, including grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds. They help reduce cholesterol by blocking the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.
Many food manufacturers are adding plant sterols and stanols to their products, ranging from margarine and cheese to orange juice and bread. You can also find plant sterols and stanols in supplement form. When taken at two grams a day, plant sterols or stanols can lower LDL cholesterol levels by 8% to 10%.
A Low Cholesterol Diet Recipe Just For You
Now that you know about which foods will help you lower your bad cholesterol, heres an easy recipe to help you get started. This Tofu with Brown Rice and Veggies make use of the healthy ingredients mentioned above.
In this recipe, we used brown rice, which is among the whole grain foods, and is healthier than white rice. Tofu is an example of soy food, which is also among the healthy foods. As a tip, if you want more flavor, you can season the sweet potatoes and tofu with cayenne or paprika if you want it with a bit of spice. You can also use oyster sauce to season the dish instead of salt.
What makes this recipe even better is that you can just wait for it to cook in the oven with your baking pan and parchment paper set. Definitely makes cooking easier and healthier!
Dont forget to share this recipe to help your friends get started on a low cholesterol diet plan, too!
What other recipes would you like us to post? Leave us a comment or send us a message!
- 200gramsChinese soy tofucut into cubes
- 1/3cupfresh flat-leaf parsley leaveschopped
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Mediterranean Breakfast Burrata Platter
This unique breakfast recipe has everything you could want for a cholesterol-lowering meal. The fiber from the whole grain bread, as well as the nutrients from the pumpkin seeds, butternut squash, and microgreens, make for an extremely healthy and fun morning option.
Get our recipe for this Burrata Platter.
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How Can Foods Help Lower Cholesterol
People can often reduce their cholesterol levels dramatically by changing the foods they eat. Diets high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterolfound in meat, dairy products, and eggsraise cholesterol levels, which increases heart attack risk. Foods high in saturated fat are especially dangerous because they can trigger the body to produce extra cholesterol.
Plants do the opposite. They are very low in saturated fat and free of cholesterol. Plants are also rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. Soluble fiber slows the absorption of cholesterol and reduces the amount of cholesterol the liver produces. Oatmeal, barley, beans, and some fruits and vegetables are all good sources of soluble fiber.
It is important to continue to work closely with your health care provider to monitor your health and manage medications, even as you make dietary changes.
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Get At Least 150 Minutes Of Exercise Every Week
Exercise can help increase your levels of HDL cholesterol which helps to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. If you add exercise it may also help you to lose weight.
Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days per week at a moderate pace where you can talk but not sing. Choose activities that you will enjoy such as a brisk walk, biking, swimming, or running.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
One of the most important foods in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet is extra virgin olive oil.
One five-year study gave older adults at risk of heart disease 4 tablespoons a day of extra virgin olive oil alongside a Mediterranean diet.
The olive oil group had a 30% lower risk of major heart events, such as stroke and heart attack, compared to people who followed a low-fat diet .
Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, the kind that may help raise good HDL and lower bad LDL cholesterol.
It is also a source of polyphenols, some of which reduce the inflammation that can drive heart disease .
High cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for heart disease.
Thankfully, you can lower this risk by incorporating certain foods into your diet.
You can also practice techniques like mindful eating to make sure youre enjoying your meal and getting full without overdoing it.
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Eat Fewer Refined Grains Such As White Flour
Were a nation of white food eaters white bread, white rice, white pasta, and white-flour foods like muffins, croissants, bagels, crackers, dried cereals, tortillas, pretzels, and chips. Yes, more than half of many Americans typical diets are made up of hyperprocessed refined white flour, often injected with sugar, salt, and/or fat.
Thats a real problem in part because the more white, or refined, grains we eat, the fewer whole grains we tend to take in. Research has found that eating whole grains can help lower both total and LDL cholesterol, and improve heart health.
In Harvard Universitys Nurses Health Study, for example, women who ate two to three servings of whole-grain products each day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease over a 10-year period than women who ate less than one serving of whole grains per week.2
When first starting to make the switch from refined to whole grains, many people often feel a bit confused. Where to begin? Whats whole? What isnt?
The registered dietitians at the Pritikin Longevity Center start with one very simple rule. When looking at products like breads and cereals, they recommend turning the package around and making sure the first word in the Ingredient List is whole. If you see the word whole at the top of the list, its a good bet that what youre buying is in fact 100% whole grain, or close to it.
Which Foods Can Lower Cholesterol The Most
Rather than focusing on one or two foods to lower cholesterol, including several foods that lower cholesterol in different ways is more beneficial. The main dietary components of a heart-healthy diet include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of highly refined ones, lean protein, and healthy fats instead of saturated and trans fats.
Additionally, consuming foods or supplements fortified with plant sterols and stanols can help lower cholesterol.
Replace Saturated Fats With Healthier Fats
Replacing foods that contain mainly saturated fats with foods that contain unsaturated fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will help reduce your cholesterol level.
For example, instead of butter and cream in cooking, use olive oil, nut butters or avocado.
Healthy unsaturated fats are found in:
- oily fish
- fruits and vegetables
Start A Healthy Plan And Make A Delicious Recipe
One of the best ways to reduce or prevent high cholesterol is to cut back on the foods that cause it. Those include trans fats, often listed as partially hydrogenated oil on cookie and cracker packages, and saturated fats, found mostly in meat, cheese and butter. To replace those foods, eat more high-fiber plant foods and heart-healthy fats the foods known to lower cholesterol. We list seven of these superfoods below. If overhauling your entire diet sounds too hard, try making just one change per week to make healthy changes that stick.
Week 1: Opt for oats for breakfastOats just might be the perfect way to start your day. They energize you, keep you regular and have more soluble fiber the kind that kicks out bad LDL cholesterol than any other grain. You dont even have to cook them see below for the easiest recipe ever. Other good grain choices are oat bran, barley and whole grains in general.
Week 2: Add an apple a dayApples are high in pectin, another type of soluble fiber that lowers LDL cholesterol. Strawberries, blueberries, grapes and oranges also pack loads of pectin and other nutrients that give them their vibrant colors, so load up.
Week 4: Have a handful of nutsSnacking on a small handful of walnuts, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts or pistachios every day can lower bad cholesterol by about 5 percent, studies show. The unsaturated fats in nuts are good for your heart too, unlike the saturated or trans fats in salami, cheese and many crackers.
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