Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the Untied States, and, unfortunately, it is our own fault. We are now eat much more fatty fast food than ever before and are less physically active than ever. If you know anything about leading a healthy life, you will know that the key to maintain a healthy weight is putting in slightly more calories than you are burning out. So, this combination of more calories in, less calories burned is a lethal one. Not only does it carry the obvious side effects of weight gain, but also increase cholesterol to high levels- levels that can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Cholesterol in itself is not bad. Our bodies actually need cholesterol to function. However, when our levels of cholesterol become too high, that is when problems arise and plaque builds up inside our arteries, making it harder for our heart to do its job.
Yet, the same way we get ourselves into this mess, we can get ourselves out of it. High cholesterol is reversible and preventable. Of course, there is medication, but this should always be a last resort. Dr. Lipman says: “Ultimately, the more HDL-boosting steps you take, the better the odds, and if you’re able to do it without medicating the numbers, so much the better.” All you need to do is know what to eat, and how to exercise. Here is Living 360’s top ten foods to help lower your cholesterol.
There has been a lot of talk about Kale recently, as it’s super health food benefits have only newly been discovered. Kale contains fiber, omega-3s and antioxidants. This healthy vegetable brings the most benefits when it is steamed, but there are all kinds of ways to incorporate it into your diet. You can use kale as the base of a green smoothie, or even bake up some kale chips and snack on them throughout the day.
High Fiber Foods
We know that fiber is good for our digestive system, but it also helps reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed into your blood. Eat high fiber foods such as oatmeal, prunes and beans. You can easily incorporate oatmeal into your breakfast routine, or even use oatmeal in your baking by using oat flour.
Although you make think of oil as a bad thing in reducing cholesterol, The oil found in fish such as salmon are low in saturated fat and high in omega 3s, making them very good for your heart. The omega-3s help to reduce inflammation and lower triglycerides, and you should have 7 ounces of fish a week to reap the best benefits.
Avocados have good fats. They contain MUFAs, or Monounsaturated Fatty Acids, and they lower the levels of bad cholesterol. You can use avocados in a variety of ways- have them as a guacamole dip (just make sure you are using veggies not chips to dip in!), slice up in a salad or bake an egg inside half an avocado!
Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are other foods that contain omega-3s. Flax seeds, almonds and walnuts are bery good for your diet. Not only will they give you omega-3, but also help you stay at a healthy weight and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
Oranges have a rice fiber skin, called pectin. Additionally, the potassium found in oranges may help lower blood pressure by reducing salt intake. But be warned- do not take your orange intake purely from orange juice. Many orange juice are full of sugars and only have a tiny percentage of the real juice. Get a fresh juice, not from concentrate, with a lot of pulp to reap the orange benefits.
Another great source of MUFAs. Many people swear by olive oil, an there is a good reason why. It has a lot of antioxidant properties, and of course, the good fats that lower cholesterol. Use olive oil instead of salad dressing and use an olive oil spread in place of butter.
That’s right. No, we are not pulling your leg. The right kinds of alcohol, in moderation, can increase the levels of good cholesterol and so clean out your arteries and lower your bad cholesterol. Red wine is actually very good for your health, as it is full of antioxidants. Still stick to your limit of 1 to 2 glasses per day.
Pomegranates contain polyphenol antioxidants which prevent plaque from forming, but also clear out the plaque that has already formed. The super antioxidant found in pomegranate fights the oxidation that starts the plaque building process.
Green tea is full of antioxidants, which is why so many of us have a green tea a few times a week. However, is it also rich in antioxidants called catechins, which lower cholesterol and reduce body fat. It is easy to swap your morning breakfast tea for a green tea each day.
Living 360 Summary:
So, instead of going straight to the doctor for statins- the cholesterol reducing medication- try to lower it by yourself first. 3 million people are currently taking statins rather than changing their diet. If you change your diet slightly, you will be a lot healthier, and your new lifestyle will benefit you in so many different ways, not only by lowering your cholesterol. Dr James Le Fanu is concerned about the over prescription of statins:
“Too many people with mildly raised cholesterol are routinely given statins when the evidence of their benefit is minimal, if not non-existent,” he says. “There are other ways of reducing cholesterol. However, where there is familial hypercholesterolemia, it’s reasonable to suggest that statins are beneficial.”
Change your life instead by introducing these ten foods into your diet. Accompany these new foods with some exercise three times a week, and you will be surprised at how much of a difference you can make on your own. Start living a healthier 360 lifestyle today.