Nine Tips for a Cholesterol Lowering Diet
When looking at the causes of high cholesterol there are some things that you can't control and other things that you can. Unfortunately, you cannot control your age, sex, or family medical history. But you can control your weight, how you manage stress, the amount of alcohol and tobacco that you consume, and your diet. (1) Whether you realize it or not your diet is one of the most common secondary causes that contribute to high cholesterol levels. In order to eat the correct foods to help maintain your cholesterol levels you need to know what foods are good for you and which ones are bad for year.
Tips for a Cholesterol Lowering Diet
- Eat plenty of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber naturally lowers LDL or bad cholesterol without lowering HDL or good cholesterol. So if you eat 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day you can lower your bad cholesterol by approximately 5 percent. Some food sources of soluble fiber include: oatmeal, whole oat flour, and other foods containing oat bran or rolled oats. (2)
- Eat foods with fortified plant sterols. Plant sterols have been proven to drop LDL or bad cholesterol levels without dropping HDL or good cholesterol levels. Plant sterols are substances that are naturally found in plants. You can lower your LDL levels by 10 to 15 percent by eating about 2 servings of food with fortified plant sterols in it each day. You can find fortified plant sterols in foods like orange juice and margarine. (2)
- Eat foods high in omega 3-fatty acids. Foods that contain omega 3-fatty acids not only lower LDL levels but raise HDL or good cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association suggests eating two servings each week of mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, and herring. (2)
- Eat plenty of nuts. Nuts not only contain plant sterols but also are rich in fiber, contain antioxidants, and contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. All of these ingredients have proven to lower LDL or bad cholesterol. Some nuts that lower cholesterol are peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, and pistachios (2)
- Eat food made from soy. Soy is a great source of protein and considered to be a healthy replacement for meats that are high in saturated fat. By eating soy beans and soy products you can lower your LDL or bad cholesterol by 3 percent. (2)
- Avoid foods high in saturated fat. According to Harvard School of Public Health, the mixture of fats in the diet is the biggest influencer of what someone's blood cholesterol levels are. It has been proven that foods high in saturated fat do raise LDL or bad cholesterol levels. Foods that are high in saturated fat include: whole milk products like butter, cheese, and ice cream, red meat, chocolate, coconuts, coconut milk, and coconut oil (3)
- Include flax seed in your diet. Studies show that flax seed is proven to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels as well as helps to lower blood pressure. (4)
- Limit your intake of tobacco and alcohols. Using tobacco products and smoking has been proven to lower your HDL or good cholesterol levels. Drinking alcohol can raise your HDL or good cholesterol levels, however, too much can have negative effects and can also cause damage to the liver and heart. (1)
- Use natural supplements. Many medical professionals will recommend natural supplements to their patients that want to control their diet and cholesterol levels naturally.