If you are looking for ways to lower your cholesterol, you may want to start by looking at what you eat. You may be thinking this means removing certain foods from your diet and while that is true, using diet to manage cholesterol also means making sure you are eating the foods that help bust cholesterol.
September is National Cholesterol Education Month and if you are one of the 102 million American adults the Centers for Disease Control indicates has high cholesterol, now is the time to take steps to learn to manage your cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. The first step is to get your cholesterol tested as you may not even realize there is a problem since high cholesterol doesn’t have any symptoms. Then, if your cholesterol levels are outside the recommendations, take action to manage it with diet, exercise, and medication. While your doctor can help you determine the right strategy for your situation, everyone can benefit from these tips for using food to manage your cholesterol.
Open with Oatmeal
When it comes to cholesterol, oats, which are packed with soluble fiber can make a big difference without requiring big changes. According to Harvard Medical School, the current recommendation for dietary fiber are 20 to 35 grams a day with 5 to 10 of those grams coming from soluble fiber. Choosing a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast will get you about 2 grams of soluble fiber which is a great way to start off your day.
The fatty acids found in fish, omega-3s, are good for your heart. They can help reduce blood pressure and for those with known heart conditions, eating fish or taking fishing oil supplements can reduce the likelihood of dying suddenly from a cardiac event. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone eats a 3.5 ounce serving of fatty-acid rich fish twice a week. For the biggest benefit, choose fatty fish like mackerel, herring, salmon, or halibut and bake your fish instead of frying it.
Not only are nuts good for your taste buds, they are also good for your heart. According to Harvard Medical School, simply eating 2 ounces of peanuts, almonds, or other nuts a day can help lower your LDL or bad cholesterol by as much as 5%.
Feast on Fruit
Fruits like apples, grapes, berries, and citrus are also high in soluble fiber. Adding these to your diet daily can help appease a sweet tooth and lower your bad cholesterol.
Beans are another good source of soluble fiber and they have the added benefit of making you feel full longer which can help curb appetite and cravings. Beans are also incredibly versatile and you can choose from a wide variety ranging from kidney beans to chickpeas to edamame/ soy beans. Use beans to add volume to soups and stews, fill burritos or wraps, or to replace other less heart healthy side dishes.
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