We all know that our diet can cause high serum cholesterol and triglycerides but did you know you can lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol and improve your good (HDL) cholesterol with simple dietary changes?
Cholesterol is essential for life and health. Cholesterol is an important ingredient for the formation of cell membranes, hormones, bile acids and Vitamin D. Cholesterol is predominantly made within the liver, intestines, adrenals, ovaries and testes and a portion is also derived from the diet but too much bad cholesterol combined with inflammation can increased our risk of heart disease.
Why is “good” cholesterol good and “bad” cholesterol bad?
There are 2 main types of cholesterol. 1.) LDL (low-density cholesterol) which is often called “bad” and 2.) HDL (high-density cholesterol) often called “good”. The bad cholesterol encourages fat in the blood stream while the good cholesterol removes excess LDL cholesterol and triglycerides from the bloodstream thus protecting our heart health.
The higher the LDL to HDL ratio the higher the risk for the development of atherosclerosis: the hardening and clogging of the arteries which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Changing your diet to reduce your cholesterol levels is the best plan of action, medications can have long-term side effects while making long-term healthy lifestyle and dietary changes will reduce your cholesterol but will also improve your overall health, reduce your risk of cancer, reduce your risk of stroke, heart attacks and much more.
8 Tips to ReduceYour Cholesterol:
1). Eat and/or drink more color: Fruits and vegetables help lower LDL cholesterol, particularly helpful are garlic, onions, apples, pears, avocados, berries, cabbage family, dark leafy greens and eggplant. Fruits and vegetables contain high levels of antioxidants that protect the circulating cholesterol from oxidizing which is when it becomes particularly harmful. Fruits and vegetables also contain soluble fiber and phyto-sterols.
2). Include phyto-sterol rich foods: Foods rich in phyto-sterol bind with cholesterol within the intestines and reduce the absorption of LDL cholesterol. Phyto-sterols are similar to cholesterol in structure and have a cardiovascular protective effect. Include phyto-sterols rich foods such as nuts which include almonds, pistachios, walnuts & macadamias; seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin, sesame and flaxseed, avocados; and cold-pressed oils such as flax, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower and olive oil.
3). Increase your fiber intake: Soluble fiber is particularly helpful for reducing cholesterol absorption in the intestine. Good sources of soluble fiber are oats, barley, legumes, psyllium husks, chia seeds, flaxseeds, peas, squash, carrots, cabbage family vegetables and pectin containing fruits such as apple, strawberries, grapes and citrus fruits. Soluble fiber is still present in fresh juices!
4). Increase essential fatty acids: HDL cholesterol increases when we consumre more essential fatty acid foods such as oily fish, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds. Here is more on the good fats vs. bad fats.
5). Reduce saturated fats: Too much saturated fat can increase your cholesterol levels and so can eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrate as these are converted into saturated fat. Avoid full fat dairy, fatty meats, sugar laden foods and refined white carbohydrates in excess.
6). Avoid trans-fats: Trans-fats increase bad cholesterol, lower good cholesterol, increase clotting factors and promote inflammation, giving it the greatest detrimental effect on your cardiovascular health. These are found in processed foods like margarine, greasy fast foods, processed vegetable oils and any baked goods containing hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or vegetable fat such as pastries, cakes and biscuits.
7). Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight boosts harmful LDL and inactivity depresses protective HDL. Lose weight if needed and exercise more!
8). Decrease your stress levels: When our bodies are under stress, we tend to manufacture more cholesterol.
Here is a great inspiring testimonial from one of our Rebooters who lowered his cholesterol!
What is your experience with your cholesterol levels and diet?