Lower Cholesterol Foods – What To Eat
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When looking at food and where the “bad” cholesterol (aka LDL) comes from, there are two main elements: Saturated Fat, and Dietary Cholesterol. When you take in too much of either/both nutrients, your body will inevitably end up with high cholesterol due to too much LDL. If you’re looking for lower cholesterol foods, then we got some suggestions for you.
Where do these nutrients come from? Saturated fat is found mostly in foods that are produced by animals (dairy products, meat, etc.). Research has show that saturated fat raises LDL levels more than anything in the average person’s diet. The other element is dietary cholesterol. This comes only from animal products. I don’t think it’s said enough: too much of either of these elements lead to high cholesterol, which leads to heart disease and other health problems.
So now you want to know “what can I eat to not raise, or even lower, my LDL levels?” Great question! One cholesterol busting food is soluble fiber. This type of fiber can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. It makes sense that if your overall absorption of cholesterol is reduced, so will your absorption of LDL’s. Oatmeal is an excellent source of soluble fiber. Other foods like apples, bananas, pears, barley, kidney beans, and prunes are also great sources of this cholesterol fighting fiber. Eating just one and a half cups of cooked oatmeal everyday will give you about six grams of fiber. Top that yummy breakfast off with some bananas or apples, and you can tack on another three to four grams.
If you’re nuts about nuts, then I’ve got great news for you. Walnuts, almonds, and other types of nuts are your cholesterol fighting ally too. These nuts contain a type of fatty acid called Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid. This type of fat actually helps you, not hurt. Walnuts are also helpful to your vascular (blood and heart) system by keeping the blood vessels healthy. This, of course, reduces your risk for heart disease.
The FDA recommends 1 to 2 ounces (about a handful) of these nuts per day. Here’s a list of some of the ones they recommend: almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts. Again, these are your friends in reducing cholesterol and keeping your heart healthy. An easy way to replace high fat food is to use almonds instead of cheese or croutons when you make a salad. They taste great and are good for you.
Seafood lovers should enjoy this next section. Eating certain types of fish, known as fatty fish, contain another type of fatty acid (Omega-3 fatty acid) that works to reduce cholesterol. Fish like albacore tune, herring, sardines, salmon, mackerel, lake trout, and halibut are all part of this group. For people who have already suffered a heart attack, adding this to your diet can significantly reduce the risk of sudden death. Two servings a week is all you need to get the benefits of Omega-3. If you don’t like seafood (like me), then you can get smaller amounts from taking in flaxseed or canola oil. You can also look for Omega-3 supplements at your local drug or grocery store.
By Dan Girard