A lot of people ask their physicians or nutritionists how they can manage their cholesterol levels and what they should cut out from their diet in order to achieve that. They often start by asking how come although they don’t eat a lot of red meat or they don’t drink full fat milk, eat ice cream and chocolate yet their cholesterol remains high.
Now, let’s hold on right here for a moment. Sometimes, it’s not about what you cut out or what you don’t have in your cheat snacks, but about what it is missing from your diet and what you do not add into your diet or not having enough of.
It’s so much more fun and appealing to think about what you can add to your diet and your lifestyle instead of what you should be taking away – which sounds all about deprivation and denial. So, forget about saturated fats, cholesterol foods, red meat and high fat products; rather think about what might be missing from your diet.
LDL vs HDL
First of all a few words about cholesterol. We have two different forms of cholesterol: the bad (LDL or Low Density Lipoprotein) and the good (HDL or High Density Lipoprotein). These healthy fats that we find in foods like olives, olive oil, avocado can help boost the good cholesterol.
Here are 7 types of foods which are going to drastically improve your cholesterol ratio (HDL/LDL). It’s not that each of these foods alone is going to reduce your cholesterol but if you include all of them in a holistic approach, that, over time has a huge significant impact.
Olives and Avocado
The first food would be olives and avocado and their by-products, like olive oil and avocado oil. The reason is that these foods contain mono-unsaturated fats. Those are fats that are healthy and “heart-smart”, they are good for us and we should eat more of them.
The second food is legumes. Legumes is the name of a group of foods that are beans and pulses, lentiles, kidney beans, green beans, chickpeas. Although you may not get excited about all the above (in fact you might as well have excluded them from your diet com pletely), these are incredibly high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber has been known in clinical trials to also help lower cholesterol because it binds the excess cholesterol and helps your system clear it out. So it’s a good idea to try and include high soluble fiber foods into your diet in a regular basis.
Low fat/ Fat Free Dairy
If you are using milk, cheese and those kinds of products try going for the ones that are really low in fat and ideally almost fat free. To use them in the cooking, baking preperation and when you are having cheese try to go for fat-free cottage cheese as opposed to high fat alternative and to use fat free milk instead of full cream milk.
Bright Colors In Fresh Products
The fourth is to go for bright-colored fresh products, fruits and vegies. Those foods tend to have high amounts of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants actually are good for us because oxidation can induce heart failure because it damages your blood vessels and if you have high cholesterol it’s more likely to stick to damaged vessels and then build up a hardening or furring of the arteries, also called atherosclerosis.
By eating fruits and vegetables that have antioxidants in them, they act a bit like little band aids that come along and wherever there are these damages in these vessels, they seal them to heal. Ideally, choose the brighly colored products so think of dark red berries and strawberries and black currents and dark green vegetables like spinach, watercress, and brocolli; and you think of orange colors, corn, oranges and mango, those things have high levels of anti-oxidants but if you are eating fruits and vegies and getting in your quota of at least 5 servings a day then you are getting a nice healthy boost of anti oxidants in.
Spice up Your Life
Instead of just using salt and pepper to add flavor to your food try to experiment with spices. Spices pack on phenomenal nutrition. Even though we use them in small amounts, if we use them regularly enough, they create a significant impact in the nutritional intake. So think turmeric, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, coriander. The more you can use spices in your cooking it not only adds incredible depth of flavor it also adds antioxidants and nutrients that can benefit.
Oats and oat bran
Oat bran in the concentrated fiber from oats. The soluble fiber, once again, is really good and helps not only to lower cholesterol but oats feel you up, keep you full for longer because they are very slow releasing so they are going to give you sustained level of energy which is great and it will help you lose weight – if you also want to do that along with managing your cholesterol levels.
Therefore, try to have oats a couple of times a week as part of your breakfast and get your hands on some oat bran and then add that to smoothies, your baking, replace some of flour ingredients and it will help you boost your soluble fiber intake.
Fatty Fish – Omega 3
The last ingredient that you should be eating is fatty fish we mean fish of high levels of the essential fatty acid omega 3. These are fish such as salmon, herring, tuna, sardines, poachers. If you search in the web or take a look at recipe books you will see how you can actually prepare these foods or use these fish in meals. Omega 3 is an all-heart healthy unsaturated fatty acid. The more omega 3 the better for heart health.