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What is the lowdown on cholesterol? Your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, causes plaque to build up in your arteries, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks. That is why it is important to take measures to lower your cholesterol. Nobody enjoys being restricted to a bland diet, so the most enjoyable and successful way to stick to a cholesterol-lowering diet is to eat the many delicious foods that lower cholesterol.
Some of the foods that lower cholesterol may surprise you. Sure you’ve heard of oatmeal, but there are some pretty flavorful foods you won’t mind eating regularly to get this heart-protecting health benefit.
Since there are new cholesterol guidelines for treating high cholesterol, doctors are informing patients about the importance of lifestyle and diet in managing their cholesterol and heart health.
In order to do your part in eating well, incorporate these delicious foods that lower cholesterol.
The oleic acid in avocados can help lower bad cholesterol levels in your bloodstream. So mash up a bowl of guacamole or add avocados to your salads and sandwiches for a heart-healthy and satisfying treat.
You can indulge in small amounts of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate and dark, unsweetened cocoa powder are rich in flavonoids, which are antioxidants that can help to reduce your LDL levels. Just eat these in moderation.
Pistachios, almonds, and walnuts are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and can help reduce levels of LDL. Aim for about one and a half ounces of these nuts each day.
In moderation, red wine has some health benefits. The resveratrol in red wine may lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of blood clots, preventing damage to blood vessels.
Green tea contains potent antioxidants that can reduce cholesterol levels and offer a host of other health benefits as well. Black tea also may have some benefit, but the less-processed green tea contains more antioxidants. That is just one of the reasons green tea is one of the top drinks for men’s health.
Fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce triglycerides. Try incorporating 8 ounces of fish such as salmon, sardines, albacore tuna, or halibut into your menu each week.
Many flavorful fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on your cholesterol. Apples, pears, and citrus fruits contain pectin, a type of fiber that lowers cholesterol. Other high-fiber fruits that may help lower cholesterol include tasty berries. Most vegetables and beans are low in calories and high in fiber and antioxidants, which can also help with your cholesterol as well.
What to avoid
When fighting high cholesterol, you do need to read labels. There are certain foods you need to avoid and things to understand. Just because a label says “low cholesterol” it does not mean the food is good for your cholesterol. If the product is high in saturated fat, avoid it. Saturated fat can raise LDL levels. You also need to check the serving size on package nutrition label. Consider the serving size and how much you are realistically going to eat. The numbers can be deceptively small if the serving size is unrealistically small.
The American Heart Association recommends that people limit cholesterol intake to 300 mg per day, and people with high cholesterol or heart disease should limit intake to 200 mg per day. That means you want to limit foods that can increase cholesterol. You may want to limit coconut milk, which is a common ingredient in thai food, granola (high in saturated fat), shrimp (try scallops instead), sticks of margarine, high-fat daily products, and organ meats.
Avoiding the wrong foods and eating the right foods, such as these delicious foods that lower cholesterol along with other cholesterol-lowering foods, play a part in helping you manage your cholesterol. It is also important to exercise at least three to four times per week and follow a general heart-healthy diet like the Mediterranean diet. Be sure to see your doctor regularly to have your cholesterol checked so you can be informed about this important part of your health.