WITH THESE NUTRITION TIPS
Lowering your cholesterol naturally through diet and nutrition doesn’t have to be hard. Can a bowl of oatmeal help lower your cholesterol? How about a handful of walnuts or some fresh vegetables sautéed in olive oil and garlic? The answer is YES. A few simple tips and tweaks to your diet may be enough to lower your cholesterol to a healthy level and help you stay off medications. At any rate you will start to see your numbers go down.
A low-cholesterol diet also is one of the best ways to improve heart health. In fact studies show you can slash your bad cholesterol by as much as 10% to 20% by changing your diet. The secret? Follow a diet rich in healthy fats like vegetable oils and fish, and avoid foods high in saturated fats and trans fats.
Start your day with Oatmeal – Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol. Use low-fat milk, top with nuts or berries. TIP: Try adding a small amount of peanut butter – delicious!
Eat more garlic – Garlic impedes the ability to make cholesterol as well as having immune stimulating properties. TIP: First crush or chop the garlic in small pieces and let it rest for a few minutes to release the potent allium. Sauté with veggies, add to soups and sauces, or roast and add to mashed potatoes.
Consider adding plant sterols – Plant sterols and stanols are substances that have powerful cholesterol-lowering properties, and occur naturally in small amounts in many grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Manufacturers have started adding them to foods such as margarine spreads, orange juice, cereals, and yogurt drinks.
Add fish and omega-3 fatty acids to your diet – Fatty fish is heart healthy because of its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can also reduce your blood pressure and risk of developing heart disease. TIP: You should bake or grill the fish to avoid adding unhealthy fats. If you don’t like fish, you can also get small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from foods like ground flaxseed or canola oil. You can take an omega-3 or fish oil supplement to get some of the benefits, but you won’t get the other nutrients in fish, like selenium.
Go nuts! – Walnuts, almonds and other nuts can reduce blood cholesterol. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts also help keep blood vessels healthy. According to the Food and Drug Administration, eating about a handful (1.5 ounces, or 42.5 grams) a day of most nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, or pecans, may also reduce your risk of heart disease.
Stick with olive oil – It can lower your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol but leave your “good” (HDL) cholesterol untouched. The FDA recommends using about 2 tablespoons of olive oil a day in place of other fats in your diet to get its heart-healthy benefits. Besides sautéing your favorite veggies, you can use olive oil as a substitute for butter when basting meat or as a dip for bread. TIP: Look for one of those great stainless steel misters to save calories. Spritz on salads and veggies for the grill.
Spice it up – Instead of relying on butter, sour cream, and other fatty additives for flavoring, go to your spice cabinet or use fresh herbs. Using a small amount of oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, coriander, or cumin can go a long ways towards boosting flavor.
HOMEWORK: Break out the oatmeal! Avoid high fat dairy products, fatty meats, fried foods, saturated fats, and highly processed foods, such as lunchmeats. Try this delicious recipe for Pasta Primavera from The Food Network’s Ellie Krieger, and you will be on your way to lowering your cholesterol naturally.
Having a healthy approach to nutrition and lifestyle is a basic component of preventative medicine and also can be effective in corrective medicine for many common health problems. Always check with your physician before beginning a new diet, or discontinuing medications.
What is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is made in the body by the liver. Cholesterol forms part of every cell in the body and serves many vital functions.